Manawatū Jets relaunch season ahead of tough trip
Jayden Bezzant helped organize the Manawatū Jets’ victory over the Nelson Giants in Nelson.
BASKETBALL: The Manawatū Jets had a huge boost of confidence ahead of another tough road trip.
A week ago the Jets were frustrated after a home loss to the Southland Sharks, but since then they have beaten the Nelson Giants 99-98 in Nelson on Thursday night and have hammered the Franklin Bulls 118-86 at Palmerston North’s Arena Sunday.
That takes the Jets to three wins and five losses as they prepare for a tough doubles schedule this weekend against perennial title contenders the Southland Sharks in Invercargill on Friday and the Wellington Saints in the capital on Sunday.
Jets coach Tim McTamney said it was a good performance against Nelson in a tough place to win and he was happy they knocked out an understaffed Bulls team.
* NZ NBL: Southland Sharks inflict first loss of season on Wellington Saints
* Manawatū Jets must regain their consistency after another loss
* NZ NBL: Otago Nuggets show top four benchmarks on Auckland road trip
“We’re playing a little better now than at the start of the season and it’s good,” he said. “We could easily have had two or three more wins … The results weren’t there to begin with, but the potential was and now we’re starting to get a few wins to go with that potential.”
The two away games this weekend will make it four in 10 days and McTamney knew it would be a challenge against the top two teams.
“If we’re going to be a playoff team, we’ve got to pick one of those games. After that we have a series of home games.
He said the best part of the season is yet to come and they are still getting better.
The game against the Bulls on Sunday was a high-level shootout, with a total of 85 three-point attempts, of which 36 were made.
Forward Shane Temara posted a high of 34 points, including 25 in the first half, as well as 13 rebounds.
Daishon Knight rebounded from a triple double, scoring 16 points with 10 assists and nine rebounds, while DeAndre Daniels scored 22 points.
The game against Nelson on Thursday ended in an exciting way with Jayden Bezzant offering clutch games to the death.
Bezzant, who scored 30 points, hit free throws and then a crucial three runs to give them an insurmountable lead and kill Nelson’s comeback.
Daniels scored 21 points and had 15 rebounds, while Knight had 19 points and eight assists.
The Jets should have everyone available for their two-game away trip this weekend, with the exception of forward Troy Temara, who is still recovering from a knee injury he sustained in pre-season.
Ranking : Southland Sharks 16, Wellington Saints 14, Bay Hawks 12, Otago Nuggets 10, Auckland Huskies 10, Nelson Giants 8, Canterbury Rams 8, Manawatū Jets 6, Franklin Bulls 6, Taranaki Mountain Airs 2.
Manawatū Jets 99 (Jayden Bezzant 30, DeAndre Daniels 21pts, 15rbs, Daishon Knight 19pts, 8ast) Nelson giants 98 (Donte Ingram 26pts, 10rbs, 6stl, Hunter Hale 27pts, 10rbs) Q1: 26-19, HT: 55-50, Q3: 80-77.
Manawat Jets 118 (Shane Temara 34pts, 13rbs, Daishon Knight 16pts, 9rbs, 10ast, DeAndre Daniels 22, Nikau McCullough 17, Jayden Bezzant 13) Franklin Taurus 86 (Kyrin Galloway 22pts, 14rbs, Denhym Brooke 23, Nick Fee 14pts, 8ast, Jaylen Gerrand 11) Q1: 32-24, HT: 61-47, Q3: 88-68.