The Manawatu Jets will have to quickly put three poor quarters of basketball out of their heads if they want any chance of beating the Wellington Saints on Monday.
The Jets lost 100-94 to the Super City Rangers at Arena Manawatu last night, a game they could have won in the final minute, having turned around a big deficit.
They host the second-placed Saints on Monday and Jets coach Darron Larsen wanted to forget parts of last night's game, but remember the few good bits.
"It comes down to getting over that hump and when you're in that cycle of dropping games, it's hard to get over that little hump," he said. "Once we do we'll be good, but it doesn't get easier with Saints coming to town on Monday."
Seven of the Jets' eight losses have been by less than 10 points.
The Jets looked dead and buried in the third quarter, down by 17 points with the Rangers running hot. But a late surge saw them tie the game up at 94-all with a minute to play, before the Rangers snuck home in the final seconds.
"Disappointing to come all the way back and fight really hard and come up short. For the fans, for the guys, for everyone."
In the first half, the Jets couldn't hit anything and the Rangers were on fire from deep, particularly Daryl Corletto and Duane Bailey, with the visitors always finding a man unmarked on transition to nail a three.
"In the first half there was breaking of rules on defence, letting them shoot at 58 per cent," Larsen said. "They scored 59 points."
The first-half shooting from Manawatu was ordinary again and they finished with a field goal percentage of 44 to the Rangers' 51.
The Jets put the three pointer away in the second spell and defended a lot better in the fourth.
Larsen took Paul Jones off and ran with three big men, helping their rebounding, which they dominated 45-26. But with the Rangers holding a four-point lead with 12 seconds left, Brandon Jenkins turned the ball over trying for a quick basket and Bailey scored at the death.
Former Tall Black Dillon Boucher ran the play for Waitakere, adding seven assists and making life easy for New Zealand Breaker Corletto, who was on fire in the first half, finishing with 25 points and five assists, including five three pointers.
Former Jet Bailey had a game-high 32 points and seven rebounds, Jason Cadee scored 19 points, six rebounds and seven assists, while youngster Tohi Milner-Smith scored 11 points and had a good battle with Nick Horvath.
Jenkins had his most productive game for the Jets with 24 points and Horvath continued his return to form from injury with 18 points and 20 rebounds.
Troy McLean helped start the fightback and scored 12 points, while Jones (10), Jeremiah Trueman (11) and Arthur Trousdell (11) were all in double figures.
Tipoff on Monday is at 5pm.
Super City Rangers 100 (Duane Bailey 32, Daryl Corletto 25, Jason Cadee 19, Tohi Milner-Smith 11)
Manawatu Jets 94 (Brandon Jenkins 24, Horvath 18/20, McLean 12, Arthur Trousdell 11, Jeremiah Trueman 11, Paul Jones 10).
Q1: 30-24, HT: 59-47, Q3: 83-72, FT 100-94.
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