Otago vs. Manawatu: Nuggets Cruise to Victory

The Night n’ Day Otago Nuggets defeated the Property Broker Manawatū Jets 112-103 in a near wire-to-wire victory at the Edgar Centre in Dunedin in Friday night Sal’s NBL action. The offense was free flowing for both squads throughout an entertaining game as the Jets were unable to continue their winning ways during the second leg of their Southern Swing.

The Nuggets found freedom early in the game as Kimani Lawrence picked up where he left off, slicing to the basket for multiple layups in the first quarter. Ben Henshall found a higher level of efficiency in the Nugs second game of the season, claiming 21 points before the halftime break. The Jets lack of defense in the first quarter found them in a 14 point hole at quarter time, but they were able to overcome 3 early fouls on star import Mustapha Heron to stay within touch distance by making 18 of 22 free throws in the first half. Much of this damage was done by Troy Baxter Jr. who scored 10 of his 18 first half points at the line, but the Jets still trailed by 10 at the break.

The third quarter saw the hometown Nuggets turn the screws for their best defensive stretch of the game without impacting their offense as Lawrence and Henshall continued to carry the load. Tyrell Harrison began to find himself more involved in the low post, but his effort couldn’t slow down the Nuggets as they brought a 15-point lead into the fourth quarter.

The Jets refused to go away quietly, riding Heron’s second half revival as well as an offensive explosion from Campbell Scott (enroute to a career high 28pts) to cut the lead to 7 points with 7 minutes to go. But  after Tyrell Harrison would foul out on an illegal screen, there was just too much class from the Nuggets impressive trio of Henshall (28pts, 55%fg), Kimani Lawrence (30pts, 62%fg) and Tai Webster (20pts) who worked together to put the game out of reach every time the Jets grasped at it.

Result: Night n’ Day Otago Nuggets (112) defeated the Property Brokers Manawatū Jets (103)

Leading Players

[Otago Nuggets]: Kimani Lawrence (30pts, 8rb) Ben Henshall (28pts, 7rb, 6ast, 3stl), Tai Webster 20pts, 6ast, 0to), Darcy Knox (14pts)

[Manawatū Jets]: Campbell Scott (30pts, 8rb, 4ast), Troy Baxter Jr. (24pts), Mustapha Heron (22pts, 4ast), Tyrell Harrison (13pts, 12rb, 2blks)

MVP Votes: Kimani Lawrence (Nuggets) - 9 votes, Ben Henshall (Nuggets) - 7 votes, Campbell Scott (Jets) - 7 votes, Tai Webster (Nuggets) - 4 votes, Troy Baxter Jr. (Jets) - 3 votes


In the earlier Sky Broadband Rapid League game:

A slow starting game turned into a barnburner as the  Otago Nuggets gave up a big lead before coming from behind to claim a victory on a last second shot.

Lachlan Crate and Simon LaFaele were strong for the Jets, helping to steer a comeback from an early 13=6 deficit in the second quarter. In the third term back to back Jonty Kells threes had the Jets looking at sneaking away with their first Rapid League win of the season.

But the ‘Slippery Eel’ Matt Bardsley refused to be denied, down three points his drive to the basket drew the attention of multiple defenders in the paint, which enable Benji Freeman to find space from behind the arc.  It was then the defense of the Nugs that took centre stage again, forcing a turnover with 4 seconds left (the Jets 14th of the game) to give themselves a chance at the win in regulation. That’s when Bardsley struck again, receiving the inbounds pass at the elbow before driving for a contested layup that dropped just as the buzzer sounded to secure Otago’s first Rapid win of the season.

Result: Night n’ Day Otago Nuggets (31) defeated the Property Brokers Manawatū Jets (29)

Leading Players

[Otago Nuggets]: Matt Bardsley (9pts, 3rbs) Benji Freeman (9pts), Josh Aitcheson (4pts, 5rbs, 2ast)

[Manawatū Jets]: Lachlan Crate (12pts, 3rbs), Simon Lafaele (8pts, 6rb, 2stls),

MVP Votes: Matt Bardsley (Nuggets) - 9 votes, Lachlan Crate (Jets) - 5 votes, Robbie Coman (Nuggets) - 4 votes, Mike Ruske (Nuggets) - 4 votes, Simon Lafaele (Jets) - 3 votes, Benji Freeman (Nuggets) - 2 votes, Jonty Kells (Jets) - 2 votes, Jackson Stent (Jets) - 1 vote


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