Nuggets first quarter blitz floors Jets

A FIRST quarter domination by Otago Nuggets has helped them defeat the winless Manawatu Jets and move to 4-2 themselves in the 2022 New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) season. The Nuggets piled on 23 points to nine in the opening term to race out to a 14-point lead, and though the Jets fought hard after that, they could never overcome the last first term deficit and went down by 15 points, 72-87 at Fly Palmy Arena.

MANAWATU JETS 9 | 21 | 19 | 23 (72)
OTAGO NUGGETS 23 | 24 | 18 | 22 (87)

The first few minutes of the match were fairly even, with a Robert Crawford triple levelling the scores just over three minutes into the match at five points apiece. In the blink of an eye, the Nugget poured on 13 straight points, with Sam Timmins, Todd Withers, Keith Williams and Nikau McCullough all chipping in early to help the Nuggets race out to a 23-9 quarter time lead.

The first quarter dominance continued into the second term, with six of the first eight points going the way of the Nuggets to make it 24-6 since the teams were five points apiece. The largest margin of the match came at the five-minute mark when Withers nailed two free throws to stretch it out to 39-15 and effectively seal the game. From that point on, the Jets were ultra competitive, scoring 57-49, but it ultimately did not matter as the Nuggets came away with the 87-72 win.

The statistics across the board were fairly even, with the Nuggets shooting at a higher clip (42 to 37 per cent), though neither team was particularly inspiring from beyond the arc, with just a 27 and 19 per cent success rate. The Nuggets had less turnover (7-11), but only converted two more points from turnovers (13-11), with a marginal advance in points in the paint (44-36) and a larger differential in second chance points (18-6). These stats came despite the Jets surprisingly winning the rebound count (49-48), and the lower ranked side also won the blocks (6-2) and levelled the assists tally (15-15).

Timmins finished with a mammoth 29 points – 12 of 20 from the field – 13 rebounds and four assists in a big performance. Withers (18 points, 12 rebounds and four steals) also picked up a double-double, whilst Williams managed 10 points, five rebounds and two assists. Tahjere McCall had nine points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals in the win. For the Jets, Zane Najdawi picked up a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Crawford had 15 points, four rebounds and two assists coming off the bench. Pafe Momoisea (10 points, two assists and two steals) and Shane Temara (14 points, six rebounds) both tried hard.

Otago Nuggets next take on Southland Sharks on Friday, May 27, while Manawatu Jets lock horns with Wellington Saints on Sunday, June 29.

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