In a dramatic finish at Fly Palmy Arena in Palmerston North bottom of the table Property Brokers Manawatu Jets stunned Sal’s NBL League leaders Auckland Tuatara by claiming a 92-91 victory.
A Rob Loe tip-in appeared to have given the Tuatara a last gasp win but an offensive foul was called to cancel out the basket and deny the visitors the victory.
Six days ago, the Tuatara defeated the Jets by 28 points and with a 71-64 lead at three-quarter time a repeat result looked likely.
However, the Jets scored the first 9 points of the final quarter to grab the lead for the first time in the game and the home game could sense an upset – Robert Crawford’s break-away dunk had them 79-75 ahead with 5:40 to play.
Shane Temara (23 points off the bench) made his fifth triple of the contest and his ensuing dunk kept the lead at two possessions with four minutes to play – then Zane Najdawi (a game high 31 points) made it a three possession game at 90-82 with 3:13 remaining.
The Tuatara weren’t finished as Chris Johnson reeled off seven points to add to Brayden Iuli’s transition basket – the visitors edging 91-90 ahead with 40 seconds to play.
The head to head between the NBL’s two leading rebounders John Bohannon (9 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists) and Johnson (27 points and 12 rebounds) had been fascinating and it was Bohannon’s inside bucket with 28 seconds to play that would prove the match winner.
Earlier Rob Loe claimed 12 of his 24 points in the first quarter as the Tuatara opened up a 21-12 lead before the Jets scored seven straight to pull within two points at the conclusion of the opening period (21-19).
The Tuatara began the second frame with a 9-2 run but were pegged back by consecutive trips to the foul line by Robert Crawford.
Crawford scored all but two of his 20 points in the half, his consecutive threes cancelled out by Brayden Iuli and Chris McIntosh points – the hosts only two down at the break (47-45).
Scoring flourishes from Najdawi and Temara kept the Jets in the Tuatara slipstream but Iuli’s spark off the bench gave the visitors a 71-64 three-quarter time lead.
All looked good for the league leaders at that stage but the Jets were about to unleash 28 points in the final quarter and pick up a second win of the season.
After consecutive defeats to the Airs and the Jets the Tuatara will look to get back to winning ways when they entertain Otago Gold Rush in the NBL Round 8 opener on Thursday while the Jets, buoyed by two victories in three outings, will face a South Island road trip to take on the Canterbury Rams and Southland Sharks with renewed relish.
SCORE: Jets 92, Tuatara 91
Jets : Najdawi 31 PTS | Temara 23 PTS |Crawford 20 PTS |Bohannon 9 PTS, 16 REBS & 11 ASSISTS
Tuatara: Johnson 27 PTS & 12 REBS | Loe 24 PTS | Iuli 14 PTS | Schneider 9 PTS
Full box score HERE.
Stuff MVP Votes
Chris Johnson (Tuatara) - 7 votes
Zane Najdawi (Jets) - 7 votes
Robert Crawford (Jets) - 7 votes
Rob Loe (Tuatara) - 5 votes
John Bohannon (Jets) - 2 votes
Braydon Iuli (Tuatara) - 2 votes
Jets – June 18 @ Canterbury Rams
Tuatara – June 16 vs. Otago Nuggets
Round 7 Sal's NBL Schedule