The Otago Nuggets bounced back 24 hours after a loss to the Saints with a last second win over the Hawks in Napier on Monday night. A Josh Aitcheson tip in on the buzzer claimed victory after a feisty, and often disjointed, game.
Both teams were missing key cogs, with the Nuggets short Sam Timmins (Tall Blacks) and Nikau McCullough (3X3 Tall Blacks), while the Hawks were without Jordan Hunt (Tall Blacks).
As expected, the Hawks relied heavily on their three star Americans, and were led by the scoring output of Trey Boyd, and the defensive awareness of Todd Withers.
With the Hawks looking to keep the within reach of a spot in the top 2, and the Nuggets looking to hang on to a spot in the top 6 conversation, this game had serious ladder implications for both teams. Those implications showed in the opening two quarters, with both teams seemingly cautiously feeling each other out, and the scores remaining neck and neck.
These two teams have history however, and it didn't take long for the feelings to become apparent, coming to a head when Derone Raukawa deliberately kicked Matt Bardsley and was charged with an unsportsmanlike foul.
While the Hawks moved the ball and found the better looks, the Nuggets three imports were sinking tough bucket after tough bucket and it kept them in it. Tajuan Agee was a standout for the home team, before fouling out with just minutes to go, leaving Jack Salt to finish out the game in his first run-out of the season.
Salt hit two big free throws with seconds remaining to tie the game up, and the Nuggets ooked for Trey Boyd to hit the game winner. His shot bounced high off the rim, before Josh Aitcheson rose above the rest to tip it in with 0.1 seconds left on the clock.
SCORE: Hawks 82, Nuggets 84
Hawks: Agee 21pts 14reb | Harris 17 5reb
Nuggets: Boyd III 30pts 7reb 4ast | Withers 15pts 12reb | Williams 24pts 6reb
Full box score HERE.
Stuff MVP Votes
Tray Boyd III (Nuggets) - 10 votes
Keith Williams (Nuggets) - 8 votes
Tajuan Agee (Hawks) - 3 votes
Ethan Rusbatch (Hawks) - 3 votes
Todd Withers (Nuggets) - 3 votes
Hyrum Harris (Hawks) - 3 votes
Hawks - July 14 vs. Wellington Saints
Nuggets – July 17 vs. Manawatu Jets
Round 11 Sal's NBL Schedule