A FOUR-quarter performance has seen Auckland Tuatara run away with a comprehensive 28-point victory over Canterbury Rams in Round 2 of the New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL). The Tuatara moved to 3-0 for the season with the big win at Cowles Stadium, showing they are one of the title contenders this year, stamping their authority on the competition. Though the first half was relatively even – and the Rams even held a marginal lead midway through the first quarter, the Rams took control after that point to maintain the advantage throughout and eventually dominate the match on their way to an 84-56 win.
CANTERBURY RAMS 16 | 13 | 11 | 16 (56)
AUCKLAND TUATARA 20 | 14 | 18 | 32 (84)
The Tuatara really clicked into gear in the second half, leading by four at quarter time and five at half-time after a relatively low-scoring second term. Auckland started to pick up in the third term as they gradually extended the margin, answering every challenge thrown at them. By the final term, it was almost exclusively a double-digit game, only briefly revisiting the single-digit difference between the sides, and the Tuatara went on with it to double the Rams’ score in the final term, piling on 32 points to 16 to secure the big win in front of just under 1300 people.
There was little doubt in the deserving winner, with the Tuatara winning just about every statistical measure in the game. They shot far more efficiently, drilling 31 shots – at 50 per cent from the field – and remarkably had 10 less attempts than their opponents (22 of 71). They also made one more three-pointer than the Rams despite having seven less chances, whilst the Tuatara got to the line for 19 free throws, nailing 13 of them, whilst the Rams made four of seven. Auckland lead in the rebounds (46-38), assists (20-13), blocks (5-0), points in the paint (36-22) and second chance points (14-7).
Interestingly, the Rams actually had less turnovers (15-17), but unfortunately could not capitalise off them, scoring just nine points, whilst their opposition scored 23 from their turnovers. Had Canterbury been more efficient with field goal shooting, it could have been a very different story. They could not get any fast break action happening with just two points to the Tuatara’s 14 in the game. Only only player scored at a 50 per cent or higher efficiency for the Rams, whilst the Tuatara had three, as well as another dominant performance from their two big men.
Chris Johnson (24 points – nine of 15 from the field and all three makes from beyond the arc – 15 rebounds, two assists and five steals) and Robert Loe (18 points – seven of nine from the field – 12 rebounds and seven assists) continue to create headaches for the opposition with their work off the boards, as they picked up a third consecutive double-double each. Dontae Russo-Nance (15 points, five rebounds five assists and two steals) showed his talent once again, whilst Takiula Fahrensohn (14 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals) was also impressive. Off the bench, Braydon Iuli put up 13 points in 13 minutes, including two of four from beyond the arc.
For the Rams, Taylor Britt scored 16 points at 50 per cent efficiency, as well as four assists and three rebounds, to be the main shooter for the home side. Aiding him of the bench was Joe Cook-Green (12 points, three rebounds), whilst Sunday Dech came in for his first game in Rams colours and came pretty close to a double-double with nine points, nine rebounds, three assists and to steals, but shot at just 26 per cent from the field.