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Taranaki Airs sink Nuggets lower in NBL


As the Taranaki Airs continue their ascent in the National Basketball League (NBL), the Otago Nuggets continue their descent.


The Airs handed the 2022 champion Nuggets their fifth straight loss and eighth in their last nine games, moving up to third with a 105-95 win at New Plymouth's TSB Stadium on Friday night.


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NZ Breakers development player Carlin Davison and Australian forward Sam Froling led the Airs in scoring. Davison had 27 points (10/17 FG, 6/10 FT), 10 rebounds and four steals, and Froling 27 points (10/15 FG, 7/7 FT) and seven boards.


Tall Blacks point guard Flynn Cameron provided 14 points (5/10 FG, 4/5 FT) and five boards, Derone Raukawa 11 points (3/8 FG, 4/4 FT) and three assists, and Breakers signing Mitch McCarron 11 points (3/10 FG, 5/6 FT), five rebounds, nine assists and two steals.


Australian guard Ben Henshall exploded for a game-high 31 points (10/21 FG, 3/9 3pt, 8/8 FT), six boards, four assists and two steals, while American forward Kimani Lawrence went for 24 points (8/14 FG, 8/14 FT), four rebounds, four assists and three blocks.


Kiwi big Jack Andrew put up 16 points (7/12 FG), eight boards and two blocks, and young guard Dontae Russo-Nance 13 points (5/17 FG), seven rebounds, four assists and four steals.


Carlin Davison Taranaki Airs NBL basketball
Carlin Davison produced a double-double with 27 points and 10 rebounds for Taranaki. PHOTO: NBL

In a four-point game with 3:25 remaining in the fourth, Taranaki made a crucial 11-5 run down the stretch, with Davison and Froling each scoring four points, to push ahead 101-91 inside the final minute.


The Airs, who shot just 17 percent from distance, took over the game late in the second quarter, going on a 12-2 burst that included three-point plays from Davison and Froling, to lead by seven at halftime.


Taranaki led by as many as eight points in the third period but the Nuggets answered with a 14-4 stretch, capped by a three from import Zaccheus Darko-Kelly, to go up two.


Earlier, the Nuggets led for the entire first period and much of the second, with Lawrence scoring 18 points in the first half. Froling had 15 points for Taranaki by the main break.


The Airs (9-3) remain at home to host the Wellington Saints (8-3) next Saturday (tip-off 7.30pm), while the Nuggets (4-8) are back on court on Sunday (tip-off 6.30pm), completing their central North Island double-header against the Manawatu Jets (1-10).


Taranaki Airs 105 (Carlin Davison 27, Sam Froling 27, Flynn Cameron 14, Derone Raukawa 11, Mitch McCarron 11, Elijah Minnie 10) Otago Nuggets 95 (Ben Henshall 31, Kimani Lawrence 24, Jack Andrew 16, Dontae Russo-Nance 13). 1Q: 19-21, HT: 50-43, 3Q: 76-74

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