Darko-Kelly leads Nuggets to win over Giants

Zaccheus Darko-Kelly played a major role in the win. Photo: Blake Armstrong
Zaccheus Darko-Kelly played a major role in the win. Photo: Blake Armstrong
The Otago Nuggets have hung on to beat the Nelson Giants 88-79 in Nelson tonight.

Having been up by as much as 11 during the fourth, the Nuggets withstood the late onslaught of the Giants, who struggled to convert for much of the latter part of the game.

The Giants closed the gap to at least five and had they been able to sink their free-throws, things could have been different.

But the Nuggets deserved that win.

Zaccheus Darko-Kelly was instrumental banking a double-double of 33 points and 10 rebounds.

Kimani Lawrence was also big with 22 points and seven rebounds.

The Giants controlled the early portion of the first quarter.

Kobe Langley ripped the ball and ran away for a dunk on his own.

But trouble came at the other end when Langley slipped, hurting his ankle and was carried from the court.

Lawrence banked a triple and Andrew followed too for the Nuggets to get their first lead of the game.

The Giants levelled the scores 21-21 at the break, but the Nuggets came out firing.

Andrew found better space in the paint, Matt Bardsley had real impact and Darko-Kelly came into the game more.

The Giants got caught sleeping on defence for Bardsley and Darko-Kelly to find an easy route to the bucket, and the Nuggets jumped out to an eight-point lead.

Darko-Kelly showed his speed along the base and put up some nice shots in one of his best outings for the Nuggets.

It was a physical battle between the two sides, neither prepared to give an inch.

Australian Dan Grida’s shot gave the Giants the lead again and the home side lead 49-48 at half time.

The Nuggets started strong in the third. Lawrence had a nice jumper, Caleb Smiler had a good steal and Andrew finished off the crumbs of Lawrence’s shot.

Alex McNaught’s defence slowed Darko-Kelly down through the middle of the third and the Giants tried to get on top of the visitors.

But the Nuggets held strong defensively and picked up the rebounds to lead 65-62 at the end of the third.

The Giants coughed up possession and were unable to get anything really going for themselves in the paint.

Darko-Kelly drained some deep threes and the Nuggets jumped out to an 11-point lead in the fourth.

The Nuggets also won the Rapid League game 31-30.

The scores

Otago Nuggets 88

Zaccheus Darko-Kelly 33, Kimani Lawrence 22

Nelson Giants

Dan Grida 28, Dan Fotu 20

Quarter scores: Nelson Giants 21-21, 49-48, 62-65