The Southern Huskies recorded back to back wins with tonight's result against the Manawatu Jets, sneaking past the visitors 89-84.
It was the Marcel Jones and Daishon Knight show in the opening quarter, with both imports slicing and dicing their opposites in an effort to put their team in poll position. The bulk of the scoring came from inside the arc and both team did so efficiently by converting at close to 50%. Jones and co were in the driver's seat at the end of the first, up 22-18.
Buckets were more prevalent in the second period and it was the Huskies who were making most of them. All five of the hosts starters got on the board early and set the pace for those occupying the pine. They outscored the Jets 29-20 and pushed their lead to 13 going into the half. Knight was again the only Jet that looked capable of scoring in the second set of 10, notching 14 points and three boards.
The Jets found life in the third period and with that the momentum did a 180. Wally Ellenson and Kuran Iverson gave Captain Knight a pair of co-stars and this resulted in a lead take-over for the men in white. They went on a 10-2 run to close the quarter and the scoreboard read 65-64 at the final break.
Huskies Head Coach Anthony Stewart delivered a stern pep talk at the interval and his team responded with increased effort and focus to start the final stage. The game went back and forth for the first five minutes, as neither team allowed the other to push their advantage out of striking distance. This didn't change, but the Huskies got themselves up by six and that would prove to be decisive as the held on for the win.
Jalen Billups recorded a 31-point double-double to earn himself Sal's MVP honours, while Marcel Jones notched a double-double of his own with 15 points and 17 rebounds.
Knight finished with 24, five and four in what was one of the better outings for the import this year so far. Iverson and Ellenson both had double-doubles with 11 and 12, and 15 and 10 respectively.
FULL STATS HERE.
Southern Huskies 89 def Manawatu Jets 84
Huskies - Billups 31pts & 11rbs, Nichols 17pts, Jones 15pts & 17rbs.
Jets - Knight 24pts, Samuels 16pts, Ellenson 15pts & 10rbs, Iverson 11pts & 12rbs.
Stats That Matter - the Huskies shot at 44% compared to the Jets at 34%, the difference being helped by the Huskies managing to drop 50pts inside the paint compared with the Jets' 28pts.
TAB MVP Votes - Jalen Billups (Huskies) 10, Daishon Knight (Jets) 7, Marcel Jones (Huskies) 4, Taane Samuels (Jets) 4, Tre Nichols (Jets) 2, Jordan Vandenberg (Huskies) 2, Jackson Stubbins (Jets) 1.