The Manawatu Jets only have two days to turn around their poor performance against the Southland Sharks last night as they front against the Bay Hawks on Monday.
The Jets lost 96-81 to defending champions Southland at Arena Manawatu, and Jets coach Darron Larsen was faced with a quick turnaround to get things right.
The Jets struggled to get anyone inside, through the Southland defence to shoot and instead had to take risky shots, which they only shot at 40 per cent in the paint.
"It's not a skill thing, it's a mindset," he said. "How good do you want to be? Do you want to be champions or do you want to be middle of the pack and you go in with that attitude.
"We have the motto of acting like you're the best and training like you're the second best and that wasn't the case tonight."
Larsen said they didn't shoot the ball very well, but wasn't sure if the team had the right mindset after Southland were beaten by the Wellington Saints on Thursday.
"Very disappointing, especially in the second half. They were way more physical than us and we were a little bit standoffish.
"We were surprised about the physicality I guess, but that's why they're the defending champs."
He said the Jets were a bit passive but they had to learn from it and improve.
Southland point guard Kevin Braswell was on fire for his 39 points, a franchise record, as he hit six three pointers and the Jets couldn't find a way to stop him, or the rest of the Sharks, who shot at 52 per cent from inside.
Larsen didn't think missing injured big man Nick Horvath was why they struggled physically, although they missed his rebounds.
After Southland were leading 45-37 at halftime, Alonzo Burton, who hit four threes, and Paul Jones tried to mount a comeback for Manawatu and they dragged it back to 58-58 and the Jets were looking good. But Southland, through Braswell and Reuben Te Rangi (24 points), went up a gear. Burton top scored for the Jets with 16 points, Jones had 11 and 11 rebounds and Troy McLean scored 14.
Sharks coach Paul Henare was relieved with the win after their 94-76 loss against Wellington as they had targeted at least one win from their road trip.
‘So we left it down to this one and thankfully the guys' attitude and mindset was right from the get-go," he said. "I thought the pace was good considering we were coming off a back-to-back and travelled up this morning.
"For the guys to put in that effort is a good sign of that mental toughness."
Henare said the Jets tested them and after the home side tied it up in the third quarter, Southland responded well.
"I think Palmy's going to be a good team. They would have lost a bit of momentum after their first game having that 10-day break and obviously when you're missing someone like Nick Horvath in the middle to shore things up.
"I think they're a very talented team and they'll be fine."
Southland Sharks 96 (Kevin Braswell 39, Reuben Te Rangi 24) beat the Manawatu Jets 81 (Alonzo Burton 16, Paul Jones 11). Quarter scores: 24-20, 45-37, 73-60, 96-81. Other results: Nelson Giants 92 Taranaki Mountain Airs 76; Bay Hawks 99 Super City Rangers 81
- Manawatu Standard
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