The visiting Canterbury Rams have held off the Taranaki Airs in New Plymouth this afternoon, earning a hard-fought 87-75 win after initially trailing 16-21 at the end of the first quarter.
Joe Cook-Green led the Rams with 21 points and 6 assists off the bench, but the star of the night was point guard Sunday Dech – who picked up an incredible 8 assists, 10 rebounds and 7 steals to go along with his 10 points, in a near quadruple-double performance.
The Rams also relied on solid contributions from big man Max Darling (15 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 huge blocks) and fellow import Ryan Taylor with 15 points - including 10 straight points in the 4th quarter to help the Rams hold off a surging Airs squad. Taylor Britt also contributed 9 points and 4 steals.
With head coach Adam Trent out with Covid, the Airs turned to Tall Blacks head coach Pero Cameron to guide their team for this game. The Airs also welcomed back Marcel Jones, who registered 14 points and 13 rebounds alongside fellow big man Tai Wynyard (15 points and 9 rebounds), tying for the team lead in scoring with Haize Walker (15 points, 5 rebounds & 5 assists).
Airs Captain Richie Rodger had 12 points (3-4 on 3’s) and 6 rebounds, while Carlin Davison had 8 points – including a pair of huge dunks to get the crowd excited.
The Airs 21-16 led at the end of the first quarter, thanks to a balanced scoring effort from their starters. But the Rams would regroup in the second and storm back - outscoring the home team 29-11 in the quarter thanks to 9 points from Cook-Green and 7 from Dech.
The Rams staged a 14-0 run in the third quarter to build their lead back up to 23 points; undeterred, Taranaki clawed back to only be down 53-65 at the end of the third. The Airs would get as close as four points – thanks to a huge three from Rodger and a hook shot from Wynyard – in the final quarter, but the Rams relied on Taylor’s fourth-quarter heroics to hold on for the impressive 87-75 victory.
This win for the Rams takes their season record to 3-1, while the Airs drop to 1-3.
SCORE: Airs 75, Rams 87
Rams: Cook-Green 21 PTS & 6 ASS | Dech 10 PTS & 8 REB & 10 ASS & 7 STL | Darling 15 PTS & 5 REB & 4 ASS & 2 BLK | Taylor 15 PTS | Britt 9 PTS & 4 STL
Airs: Jones 14 PTS & 13 REB | Walker 15 PTS & 5 REB & 5 ASS | Wynyard 15 PTS & 9 REB | Rodger 12 PTS & 6 ASS | Davison 8 PTS
Full box score HERE.
Stuff MVP Votes
Joe Cook-Green (Rams) - 9 votes
Sunday Dech (Rams) - 6 votes
Tai Wynyard (Airs) - 5 votes
Richie Rodger (Airs) - 4 votes
Ryan Taylor (Rams) - 3 votes
Haize Walker (Airs) - 2 votes
Max Darling (Rams) - 1 vote
Airs - May 21 vs. Southland Sharks
Rams - May 21 @ Nelson Giants
Round 3 Sal's NBL Schedule