A big night in the capital for the Sal's NBL finals-bound Wellington Saints with a capacity 4,000 crowd packing TSB Bank Arena for a Monday night win over the Go Media Otago Nuggets.
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With a spring in their step knowing victory would be rewarded with top seed at the Final 4, the Saints overcame a slow start to take a 25-19 at quarter-time, led by Taane Samuel (11pts) as he continues his excellent run of form.
Though trailing the signs were good for the Nuggets with Sam Timmins and Isaiah Moss once again doing the bulk of the scoring.
Moss continued his scoring blitz in the second period as Timmins was forced to the sidelines with three fouls, the American's 17 first-half points only eclipsed by Samuel as he poured in 18 points for the Saints.
Crowd favourite Kerwin Roach had 14 points by the half, including a couple of his trademark dunks.
Though the home team led 55-50 at the half no doubt there would have been some conversations about rebounding, the Nuggets leading the way 17-9 coupled with an impressive 7-1 advantage on the offensive glass.
The third period was an old-fashioned arm-wrestle as both teams traded baskets, led by Roach for the Saints and an increasingly influential Geremy McKay for the Nuggets.
With the game up for grabs it was the home team to step up down the stretch, delivering a 26-16 final term to run out 102-85 winners.
Wellington Saints (102) defeated Otago Nuggets (85) - BOXSCORE
SAINTS: Kerwin Roach (27pts), Taane Samuel (23pts), Dion Prewster (13pts).
NUGGETS: Geremy McKay (25pts), Iaiah Moss (23pts), Sam Timmins (13pts, 11rbs).
Stuff MVP Votes
Kerwin Roach (Saints) 10
Taane Samuel (Saints) 7
Geremy McKay (Nuggets) 7
Isaiah Moss (Nuggets) 3
Dion Prewster (Saints) 2
Sam Timmins (Nuggets) 1
(Photo Credit: PhotosportNZ)