The Wheeler Motor Company Canterbury Rams have charged past the Southland Sharks 106-55 in Christchurch on Saturday evening.
The Rams understood the task at hand with an aggressive start in the first quarter, outscoring the Sharks 26-8. They held the Sharks to a miserable 2-of-16 from the field and forced six turnovers, enabling them to feast at the other end with six assists alone in the quarter.
American import Matthew Moyer led the early charge for the Rams with seven points and six rebounds through 10 minutes of action, while fellow big man Mike Karena had five points and one monster rejection.
The Sharks were able to somewhat limit the bleeding in the second quarter but it was still all the Rams, as they picked up the quarter 19-10 for a big 45-18 lead at the halftime break. Moyer already had himself a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds, showcasing his athleticism and high work rate in an impressive first half.
On the other side the Sharks were getting solid contributions from their import guard Daishon Knight with six points, three rebounds and two assists, but they were shooting just 7-of-31 from the floor and 1-of-9 from deep. The Sharks also had 10 first half turnovers and were doubled up on the offensive glass (12-6) by the Rams. That same fight that we've seen in recent week just wasn't there tonight for the Sharks.
The Rams turned in their best offensive quarter of the game in the third, dropping 34 points while the Sharks managed 21. Mike Karena beat the buzzer to end the quarter on a beautiful inbounds pass by Taylor Britt with two seconds left. Karena and Matt Moyer each had 17 points through three quarters.
Even with the game firmly in hand the Rams didn't take their foot off the gas in the fourth quarter outscoring the Sharks 27-16. Canterbury were able to empty their bench late in proceedings and get their starters some well deserved rest after a big effort in this one. Moyer posted a monster double-double with 19 points and 20 rebounds and Karena scored a game-high 21 points for the Rams. Sunday Dech dropped 15 points in his return from a one-game absence.
The Rams committed just eight turnovers in the contest, an impressive effort considering they played at a high pace and generally that increases the likelihood of mistakes. They dished out a whopping 28 assists and outrebounded the Sharks 57-32 on the glass. Canterbury didn't do a whole lot wrong in what was an essential win on their home floor. They'll head to Hawke's Bay for a game that could decide who heads to Auckland for the Final 6 on August 10.
The Sharks came out flat and weren't able to get back into the game. They shot a brutal 34% from the field and 2-of-19 from downtown. Brayden Inger was solid again for Southland despite the loss, totaling 16 points and eight rebounds. The Sharks meet a desperate Bulls squad at home in Invercargill next week.
SCORE: Rams 106, Sharks 55
Rams: Moyer 19 PTS, 20 REB | Karena 21 PTS | Dech 15 PTS | Britt 7 AST
Sharks: Inger 16 PTS, 8 REB | Knight 13 PTS | King 11 PTS
Full box score HERE.
Stuff MVP Votes
Matthew Moyer (Rams) - 10 votes
Mike Karena (Rams) - 8 votes
Brayden Inger (Sharks) - 6 votes
Sunday Dech (Rams) - 4 votes
Daishon Knight (Sharks) - 2 votes
Rams - Aug 6 @ Hawke's Bay Hawks
Sharks - Aug 5 vs. Franklin Bulls
Round 14 Sal's NBL Schedule