The Southern Huskies have moved to fourth on the Sal's NBL ladder with a come-from-behind 108-104 win against an undermanned Supercity Rangers outfit.
The win moves the Huskies to a 6-4 record and unlike their first trip to NZ shores back in Round 2, this time the Tasmanians head home with two wins and an eye on the Final 4 in July.
In a gripping contest the Rangers jumped out of the blocks with Nnanna Egwu (25pts) and Venky Jois (18pts in 12min) dominating the game and pushing their team to a lead that one stage sat at 24pts, a startling margin given Tim Quarterman (19pts, 15ast) didn't score a point until the second period.
After a 35-13 opening quarter by the Rangers, a huge blow was dealt with Venky Jois forced to exit the game with a severe hand injury. Word at the stadium is that Jois went to hospital. His absence would be felt down the stretch.
For much of the contest the Rangers looked like they would cause a major upset and dent the Final 4 chances of the Huskies, but when it most counted the visitors found a way. A 57-39 second half ensured the Huskies exited with the vital win.
Marcel Jones (27pts, 17rbs) was a monster at both ends of the floor and thoroughly deserved the Sal's MVP Award, Jalen Billups (23pts) continued his good run of form, while Craig Moller (21pts, 11rbs) played a ripper of a captain's game.
In a huge week ahead the Huskies have Canterbury visiting them in both Hobart and Launceston, the Rams the only NZ-based team having to play the Huskies twice on the road. If the Huskies can win at least one game their Final 4 chances will increase greatly, two wins would be even better of course.
Supercity Rangers 104 lost to Southern Huskies 108
Rangers - Nnanna Egwu 25pts, Lesae Coe 22pts, Tim Quarterman 19pts & 15ast, Venky Jois 18pts in 12min.
Huskies - Marcel Jones 27pts & 17rbs, Jalen Billups 23pts, Craig Moller 21pts & 11rbs.
Stats That Matter - size counts! In a game so close you can only think that the Huskies 50-28 rebound count and 60-38 points in the paint got them the narrow win.
TAB MVP Votes - Marcel Jones (Huskies) 10, Nnanna Egwu (Rangers) 7, Craig Moller (Huskies) 7, Jalen Billups (Huskies) 3, Lesae Coe (Rangers) 3.