NBL Showdown 2020: Otago, Canterbury lose unbeaten records

Otago Nuggets and Canterbury Rams have lost their unbeaten records at the NBL Showdown, falling to Taranaki and Manawatu respectively.

The results showed the condensed six-week post-coronavirus format was balancing out, after the teams that had practiced most together jumped out of the gates quicker than others still finding their chemistry.

Entering their latest contest with two wins from as many games, the southernmost side faded badly over the latter stages, conceding a 68-35 second half.

After bowing to the Auckland Huskies the previous night, the Airs bounced back with a powerful performance from their starting unit, led by guard Derone Raukawa's 23 points and 15 points/18 rebounds/seven assists from Marcel Jones.

Forward Shane Temara (18points/11 rebounds) dominated the offensive boards for Taranaki, who restricted their rivals to 35 percent shooting from the field.

Top draft pick Jordan Ngatai was the best of the Nuggets with 22 points.

Taranaki Mountainairs 107 (Derone Raukawa 23, Shane Temara 18, Francis Mulvihill 17, Marcel Jones & Kenneth Tuffin 15) Otago Nuggets 81 (Jordan Ngatai 22, Jarrod Kenny 18, Jordan Hunt 16) 

Tom Vodanovich in action for Jets
Tom Vodanovich in action for Jets. Photo credit: Photosport

Jets shoot down Rams

Meanwhile, Manawatu Jets produced a dominant third quarter to edge away 108-93 over Canterbury, who have come into the tournament without at least two of their projected starting five, including star centre Jack Salt.

After three wins to start their campaign, the well-drilled Rams could not sustain their run against their rivals, led by Tall Blacks forward Tom Vodanovich (25 points/12 rebounds).

Leading by four points at halftime, the Jets outscored their opponents 32-21 in the third stanza and never let them back within double figures down the stretch. 

Vodanovich connected on five three-pointers and found able assistance from Taane Samuels 27 points, including five from the arc, and Jayden Bezzant 25 points. Their 15/32 from long distance, compated with the Rams' 6/10, proved the difference.

Canterbury, led by guard Taylor Britt's 23 points, actually shot more efficiently, outscoring their opponents 62-46 in the paint, but committed 19 turnovers to fuel the Manawatu efforts.

Both Otago and Canterbury have immediate opportunities to rebound from their setbacks, facing Franklin Bulls and Nelson Giants respectively on Thursday.

Manawatu Jets 108 (Taane Samuels 27, Tom Vodanovich & Jayden Bezzant 25, Hyrum Harris 18) Canterbury Rams 93 (Taylor Britt 23, Tom Webley 17, Sam Smith 16, Mason Whittaker 11)