The Wheeler Motor Company Canterbury Rams have gone one-step closer to securing a Final 4 spot after thrashing the the Southern Huskies 97-71.
The hosts shot out to a five nil lead before the Huskies regathered themselves and drew level at the five-minute mark.
Emmett Naar and Isaiah Wilkins then went on a scoring tear and lead their team on 15-0 run, which saw them lead 23-16 at the end of the quarter.
The Huskies opened the second on a 6-2 run, but that was as good as it got for the visitors. Naar continued to light it up from three, he went three for three on triple attempts and had 15 points going into the half.
A 25-2 run to close out the quarter gave the Rams a 54-23 lead at the interval and left the Huskies well and truly behind the eight ball.
Games aren't won in the first 20 minutes and that was clear to the Rams. Naar and Wilkins kept their feet on the gas, while Cameron Gliddon and Tony Tolovae chipped in with energetic defence and timely cuts to the basket.
Jalen Billups was the only man in a white jersey who looked any threat to convert a shot, which lead to the Rams collapsing on the big man. The turnovers lead to easy points in transition and tacked on another 20 to their deficit.
The Huskies season was on the line going into the fourth and they came out the more assertive of the two. Buckets from Tre Nichols and Marcel Jones reduced the host's lead, but the Rams made enough of their shots to hold a substantial lead.
Time ran out for the Huskies in the end and they were left ruing for a poor defensive effort in the opening half. Their season isn't mathematically over, but the light at the end of tunnel has certainly dimmed.
Canterbury Rams 97 defeated Southern Huskies 71
Rams - Emmett Naar 18pts, 3rbs, 5ast, Michael Karena 17pts & 4rbs, Isaiah Wilkins 15pts & 10rbs.
Huskies - Jalen Billups 17pts & 10rbs, Marcel Jones 14pts & 11rbs, Tre Nichols 11pts.
Stats That Matter - the Rams shot an efficient 56% from the field and a superb 47 % from deep.
(Photo credit: PhotosportNZ)