The Southern Huskies have given their fans something to cheer about after pulling away late to put away a persistent 2 Cheap Cars Supercity Rangers's side 84-68.
The game itself got off to an undesirable start, as technical issues with the scoreboard pushed back what was meant to a 9pm tip-off. Play got underway just under 15 minutes past the advertised time and it was a scrappy affair for the majority of the first period. Both teams saw less than half their shot attempts find the back of the net, but a layup by Jalen Billups with less than five seconds to go saw the home team go into the break 21-19 in front.
The second was even less of a spectacle than the first, with errors and poor execution dictating nearly the entirety of the quarter's play. The Rangers would outscore the visitors 17-16, with 13 of those points coming from the team's imports. Venky Jois was the go-to man for the visitors in the first half and finished with nine points at the end of the period. The Huskies would go into the interval up 37-36, thanks in large part to the play of star guard, Tre Nichols, who at the time was game's leading scorer with 15.
The hosts would begin to extend their lead early in the third period, with big man Jordan Vandenberg flushing home two dunks and getting a rowdy Tasmanian crowd on their feet. Trips to the charity stripe by Nichols, Craig Moller and Mason Bragg would push the home team ahead by double-digits, while the Rangers had trouble holding on their ball and putting it through the rim. Moller would hit a deep three with just under 30 seconds to go and give his team a 58-47 buffer at three-quarter time.
Quarterman would get his team on board first in the fourth and get his team to within three with just over half the quarter to play. However, an 13 to six run by the Huskies would see them bounce back out to a nine-point lead with under three minutes to go and put to bed any chance the Rangers had at leaving Australia with a second win. MVP honours went to Craig Moller, who finished with 20 points and a game-high 16 rebounds. The forward was a force on both sides of the ball and was key to his team's late push for the W. Jalen Billups also continued his hot statistical run and finished as the top scorer with 22, but fell one rebound short of a double-double.
Venky Jois finished with the game's only double-double, scoring 19 points and snagging 11 boards. Fellow imports Quarterman and Nnanna Egwu were their same old selves and contributed nicely, but the biggest positive of the night for the Rangers was the 20 points they received from their four bench players. Something their team will need if they're to make a push for the Final Four.
FULL STATS HERE.