Nuggets clinch tight contest

The signs were promising as Tray Boyd drained his first shot just 11 seconds after tip-off.

By the end of the night, when he iced a thriller at the free throw line, the quality of the Otago Nuggets replacement import guard was clear.

He caused the table-topping Auckland Tuatara problems all game, as the Nuggets claimed a 99-95 victory in Auckland last night.

Boyd, who joined the team this week in place of Tahjere McCall, accumulated 27 points on an efficient 10-of-15 shooting.

This was a much-improved performance from a Nuggets team that rediscovered its intensity and energy.

Todd Withers was equally influential with 24 points and 10 rebounds, while Sam Timmins and Keith Williams added 22 and 20 points respectively.

At the other end they defended resolutely, Josh Aitcheson causing chaos for the Auckland offence off the ball.

The win snapped a two-game losing streak, lifting the team to a 6-4 record.

"We dealt with a few things, we were probably a bit remiss," coach Brent Matehaere said.

"When you have a fast start with nine games in the first few weeks, it’s a matter of hanging in there as much as you can. We probably did that with a bit of talent.

"But I think we really showed who we are tonight. We still gave up 95 points. But our defensive systems were in place, we really worked hard to make sure we tried to execute them.

"Down the stretch it came to fruition. We got the stops we needed and that’s the key thing."

Every time the Nuggets looked as if they were pulling away, the Tuatara went on a run to pull back.

Auckland looked to have gained control midway through the second quarter, pulling out to a 48-42 lead.

However, the Nuggets defence locked in and they went on a 14-0 run to finish the half.

The Tuatara hit back early in the third quarter, before a run to finish the quarter left the Nuggets ahead 78-69.

Again the Tuatara hit back, as import guard Siler Schneider took over the game.

This time, they stuck with the Nuggets and went ahead by one point in the fourth quarter.

However, the Nuggets responded every time they needed to.

Timmins pulled in an offensive rebound and finished with 45 seconds to play, giving the Nuggets a 95-93 lead.

From there they locked in defensively, while Boyd closed the game out at the line.


The scores

Otago Nuggets 99

Tray Boyd 27, Todd Withers 24

Auckland Tuatara 95

Chris Johnson 23, Silas Schneider 22

Quarter scores: 29-25, 56-48, 78-69

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