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Nuggets cruise to home win over Jets

The Otago Nuggets have defeated the Manawatū Jets 112-103 in a near wire-to-wire victory at Dunedin's Edgar Centre in National Basketball League (NBL) action.

The offence was free-flowing for both squads throughout an entertaining game as the Jets were unable to continue their winning ways during the second leg of their 'Southern Swing' on Friday night.

American forward Kimani Lawrence led the way with a game-high 30 points (10/17 FG, 10/16 FT) and eight rebounds, while Australian Ben Henshall put up 28 points (11/20 FG, 3/7 3pt), seven boards, six assists and three steals.

Former Tall Blacks guard Tai Webster had 20 points (8/17 FG, 2/4 3pt) and six assists, while Darcy Knox provided 14 points (5/6 FG, 3/4 3pt) off the bench.

Guard Campbell Scott led the Jets with a career-high 28 points (11/18 FG, 4/8 3pt), eight rebounds and four assists, while import Troy Baxter Jr had 24 points (5/12 FG, 3/9 3pt, 11/13 FT) and four boards.

American guard Mustapha Heron put up 22 points (9/20 FG) and four assists, Tyrell Harrison 13 points (4/8 FG, 5/6 FT), 12 rebounds, two steals and two blocks, and Simon Lafaele eight points and seven boards from the bench.

The Nuggets found freedom early in the game as Lawrence picked up where he left off, slicing to the basket for multiple layups in the first quarter. Henshall found a higher level of efficiency in the Nugs second game of the season, claiming 21 points before the halftime break.

The Jets lack of defence in the first quarter found them in a 14-point hole at quarter-time, but they were able to overcome three early fouls on star import Heron to stay in touch by making 18-of-22 free-throws in the first half.

Ben Henshall Otago Nuggets basketball
Ben Henshall hit three triples in his 28 points for the Nuggets. PHOTO: NBL

Much of the damage was done by Baxter Jr, who scored 10 of his 18 first-half points at the line, but the Jets still trailed by 10 at the break.

The third quarter saw the hometown Nuggets turn the screws for their best defensive stretch of the game, without impacting their offense, as Lawrence and Henshall continued to carry the load.

Harrison began to find himself more involved in the low post, but his effort could not slow down the Nuggets as they brought a 15-point lead into the fourth quarter.

The Jets refused to go away quietly, riding Heron’s second-half revival as well as an offensive explosion from Scott to cut the lead to seven points with seven minutes to go.

But after Harrison fouled out on an illegal screen, there was just too much class from the Nuggets impressive trio of Henshall, Lawrence and Webster, who worked together to put the game out of reach every time the Jets grasped at it.

Next up, the Nuggets (2-0) host the Wellington Saints (1-0) next Saturday (tip-off 7.30pm), while the Jets welcome the Bay Hawks to Palmerston North on Thursday (tip-off 7.30pm).

Otago Nuggets 112 (Kimani Lawrence 30, Ben Henshall 28, Tai Webster 20, Darcy Knox 14) Manawatū Jets 103 (Campbell Scott 28, Troy Baxter Jr 24, Mustapha Heron 22, Tyrell Harrison 13). 1Q: , HT: , 3Q:


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