Ira Lee made a looping hook with three seconds left to seal a tense 95-94 win for the Hawke’s Bay Hawks last night in Dunedin.
The Otago Nuggets did get one last chance at glory.
But with so much time left until the end of the game, it was necessary to hurry.
Michael Harris missed the try, but it was very short.
It would be a certain finish and a certain victory for the reigning champions, who suffered a setback before the players took the court.
Star point guard JaQuary McLaughlin injured his knee and was forced to sit out the game.
That spurred players like Todd Withers and Harris to respond with 25 and 31 points, respectively.
Withers hit four 3-pointers in the final quarter to get the hosts back in the contest.
And when he stole the ball and dunked to tie the score with 90 seconds left, the momentum seemed to have shifted to the home side.
Robbie Coman grabbed a rebound and made a layup to give the Nuggets a 94-93 lead with 13 seconds left.
Hyrum Harris made the pass and somehow Lee broke through the defense and into the ring.
He led the Hawks with 24 points and 11 rebounds.
Hyrum Harris had 14 points and 12 rebounds in a quality performance.
Sam Timmins was not too far away from a rare triple-double. The captain of the Nuggets scored 13 points, grabbed 10 boards and made seven assists.
Earlier in the game, it was immediately apparent how much McLaughlin’s passing game would be missed.
The movement of the home team’s ball was not at its usual speed.
Quality defense helped compensate.
Timmins made his way to the ring with some early points, but Michael Harris scored the bulk of the early points.
He scored nine points in the first period to give his team a 21-19 halftime advantage.
The Australian attacking full-back also caught the eye in the next period.
The rebounds fell well for him, he made a couple of good assists and, most importantly, scored nine more points.
However, Hawkes remained in touch. Hyrum Harris burst to the hoop for a late bucket.
Jordan Hunt hit a crucial 3-pointer to close the gap as well.
At halftime, Withers limped back to the court and made the first three.
Michael Harris stepped into the passing lane and made the interception.
Coman converted this loss with a triple.
But the Hawks strung together several stops.
Lee outpointed Withers en route to the pair’s rhyme.
Derone Raukawa hit a mid-range jumper.
Hyrum Harris had a pass and an interception, and it was all even short.
Darcy Knox hit back-to-back 3-pointers to once again create a small buffer for the Nuggets.
But Raukawa regained the lead with a pair of free throws late in the third.
The Hawks picked up the pace and quickly extended their one-point lead to nine.
Timmins drove through the paint for another basket and Withers hit three after three to set up a photo finish.
Source link – https://www.odt.co.nz/sport/basketball/loss-mclaughlin-felt-nuggets-just-miss-against-hawks