The Wheeler Motor Canterbury Rams have made it two from two on the road with a 98-83 win over the 2 Cheap Cars Supercity Rangers.
Again, it was the Rams American big three of Julian Williams-Washburn (25 points), Winston Shepard III (20 points) and Xavier Thames (17 points) who were able to get the job done for the Mark Dickel coached side as they win their third straight on the road and move to 4-1.
The visitors set the tone from the beginning scoring 35 points in the opening quarter for a six point lead, they then extended the lead to 13 at halftime.
Former Ram, Marcel Jones, did help give his Rangers side a glimpse of hope in the second half, as the home side did close to within five in the fourth quarter. But a 14-2 run by the Rams, pushed their lead to 17, giving the Rangers their sixth straight defeat
Jones scored a game high 29 points, and Lindsay Tait added 14 points and nine assists, but much like the previous games, they to lock in defensively, allowing too many points. It was going to be a difficult task to try and outscore the opposition being without their sharpshooter, Clay Wilson (injured knee), who had 43 points in their last home.
At this point you would have to say the Rangers playoff chances are slim, and it doesn’t get any easier next week when they travel to Invercargill to play the rampant SIT Zerofees Sharks on Thursday.
In Palmerston, the Mike Pero Giants have snuck through with an 87-85 win over the Go Media Jets. The Giants got 62 points from Kyle Adnam (21), Damon Heuir (21), and Jerry Evans (20) to help get win number four, as they are now tied with the Sharks and Hawks with a 4-2 record.
Kuran Iverson exploded for 38 points on 14-for-22 shooting, and Daishon Knight added 24 for the Jets who drop to 1-5, losing their second straight by five points or under.
Nelson led by as many as nine in the fourth quarter, but a gutsy fightback by the home side saw them take an 84-83 lead with 34 seconds, after a Knight layup.
A foul off the ball on Adnam, would gift him two free throws which he would slot both, putting the Giants up 85-84 lead with 22 seconds left.
On the ensuing possession, Knight, would take a tricky mid-range base line jumper that would fall short, forcing the Jets to foul Evans who would make both free throws, putting the visitors up three with 10 seconds left.
Finn Delany would commit his fifth foul on Knight, with 4.5 seconds to go, giving the Jets two free throws. Knight would make the first, and miss the second on purpose. It looked like centre Callum McRae might get the tip in, but Bronson Beri would secure the rebound and be fouled with 2.3 seconds to go. Beri would miss both, but Iverson was unable to heave a hail mary three in time.
Nelson Head Coach, Jamie Pearlman, will be relieved to grab the win despite being without starting forward, Tohi Smith-Milner, and also having to manage Delany’s minutes after he had 2 quick fouls in the first quarter and then a third early in the third. It wasn’t Delany’s night as he would eventually foul out in 17 minutes.
The Giants played a zone for the majority of the contest, which apart from the offense of Iverson, caused the Jets difficulties as they started the game 1/19 from three.
But to the credit of the young Jets squad, they showed spirit to come back multiple times during the contest, and not letting the visitors run away with the game which potentially could have happened when they trailed by as many as 12.
The Giants will have another busy schedule in Round Five, hosting the Mountainairs next Friday, and then facing the Rangers on the road on Sunday afternoon. The Jets will travel down to Wellington to play the Cigna Saints on Friday night.
Week 4: Sunday, May 20
At Trusts Arena, Auckland
2 Cheap Cars Supercity Rangers 83 (Marcel Jones 29, Lindsay Tait 14, Devon Scott 13)
The Wheeler Motor Canterbury Rams 98 (Julian Williams-Washburn 25, Winston Shepard III 20, Xavier Thames 17)
At Ballroom Arena, Manawatu
Go Media Jets 85 (Kuran Iverson 38, Daishon Knight 24)
Mike Pero Nelson Giants 87 (Kyle Adnam 21, Damon Heuir 21, Jerry Evans 20)