While it's just the second time the Southern Huskies have stepped foot in New Zealand, we are now sitting at R8 of the Sal's NBL and the clock is ticking as the battle heats up for this season's top four.
The Huskies helped their Final 4 aspirations greatly with a commanding win against the Airs. If they can back it up with a victory over the Rangers on Sunday, the Australian's will head home with a 6-4 record and will be inside the top four ahead of the Sharks.
This win was set-up early, the Huskies leading by as much as 30pts during the contest as the Airs struggled to cover the big three of Billups, Nichols and Jones. To make the task even harder, Derone Raukawa miss date clash through injury.
Hot shooting (56%) and punishing transition which led to 32pts coming off Taranaki's 18 turnovers ensured this game was only going to finish one way.
In a pleasing sign for the Huskies the 114pts was their biggest score since hitting 100pts in their very first game in the competition, back in R2 on the road against the Manawatu Jets.
Another notable sign was the emerging teamwork of Billups, Nichols and Jones, while Moller is also another genuine star the Huskies have. As they continue to find their feet, that race for the top four looks like it will go down to the wire.
For the Airs, Alonzo Burton (27pts) took theta on his shoulders in the absence of Raukawa, but in the end the Airs just couldn't stop the Huskies from scoring, especially inside the paint.
Taranaki Mountainairs 90 lost to Southern Huskies 114
Airs - Alonzo Burton 27pts, Mitch Dance 18pts, Dane Brooks 15pts.
Huskies - Jalen Billups 28pts, MArcel Jones 25pts & 15rbs, Tre Nichols 21pts & 8ast, Lochlan Cummings 17pts.
Stats That Matter - the Huskies scored a whopping 32pts off turnovers, punishing the Airs for their 18 errors.
TAB MVP Votes - Jalen Billups (Huskies) 9, Tre Nichols (Huskies) 7, Marcel Jones (Huskies) 7, Alonzo Burton (Airs) 5, Dane Brooks (Airs) 2.