The Southern Huskies have stolen a win at the death to record their second win at home in the 2019 Sal's NBL, beating the Mike Pero Nelson Giants 93-91.
Early points inside to Tyrell Harrison opened the game up for the Giants backcourt, with Jordair Jett and Daniel Grida both cashing in when left open. Jalen Billups and Marcel Jones established themselves as the Huskies offence initiators early in the piece and converted on enough opportunities to only see their team trail 22-18 at the quarter's end.
The Giants built on their early lead with back to back triples from reserve Bronson Berri, creating space for fellow impact player Tom Ingham to also join in with three of his own. Second-slow closeouts cost the Huskies on the scoreboard, but the Tasmanians made up for it on attack. Billups continued to feast on soft interior defence, while Tre Nichols and Craig Moller took to their jumpers to make the visitors pay. They went into the half 41-39 ahead.
Scoring in the third was back and forth, but the home team did just enough to keep their noses out in front. Billups threw down a thunderous slam midway through the period, lifting his team to go on 6-0 run. The Giants fought back through fellow big man Harrison and Grida, but it was three-point marksman Berri who had the last laugh as he nailed a three to bring the scores to 69-68 going into final 10 minutes.
Rhys Vague got the final period going with a jumper at the nine-minute mark, but it was the Huskies inability to put the ball in the basket that saw their lead dwindle away. Kruz Perrott-Hunt scored four quick points to give the Giants the upper-hand and running-mate Jordair Jett got involved to boost their buffer to six. Billups received his second technical foul with two minutes to go, leaving the Huskies shorthanded in the final moments.
However, Marcel Jones and Nichols stepped up when it mattered most and brought their team level with 30 seconds remaining. The Huskies would corral the rebound off a Grida miss and Moller drove up the court to the hole but was pinned by Vague, with the ball falling to Jones who laid the ball in with a second on the clock. Vague got an open look off an inbound play but his shot fell short. It was a dramatic win for the Huskies and this could be a key victory come finals time.
Sal's MVP Moller had a captain's knock with a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Jones contributed with 20 of his own and nine boards. Billups also played a key role for the hosts, pouring in a game-high 24 points and jamming home a number of eye-popping dunks.
Jett and Vague put in admirable shifts for the Giants, scoring 20 and 16 respectively. Berri had arguably the biggest influence for the visitors, finishing with 14 on 40% shooting and four from nine from three-point range.
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