Close your eyes. Cover your ears. Cover your mouth. Try it on for size.
The following is terrifying reading for Nuggets fans.
Otago suffered one of their worst defeats in history.
The Southland Sharks were beaten 116-79 in Invercargill tonight.
And it was as brutal as it sounds.
The Sharks started the game on a three-game losing streak and desperately needed a win to stay in touch with the top six.
But no one expected the 37-point loss, the Nuggets’ eighth-heaviest loss.
The Nuggets set the bar by winning seven straight to start the season.
They were missing star point guard Jaquari McLaughlin. He dropped out with a knee complaint.
In his absence, the reigning champions certainly lacked cohesion.
But so many other parts of their game fell away.
The biggest concern was the defense. He was seriously missing.
Alonzo Burton scored 20 points for the Sharks. But six more of his teammates got double figures.
The recovery battle was also one-sided. “Sharks” won this phase with a score of 46:26.
Michael Harris led the Nuggets with 21 points, but struggled to find his range and missed all eight of his three-point attempts.
Sam Timmins (15 points) had a quiet game, and Todd Withers (14 points) showed decent shooting, but could not make a serious impact on defense.
Burton scored three to open the scoring.
Withers responded with one of his own and also picked up a foul. He converted from the lane, but the Nuggets looked completely split.
Had Withers not made a couple more threes, they would have been in a much deeper rut.
The Nuggets’ reputation for playing sticky defense has taken a big hit. The Sharks were getting too many open looks and killing the visitors on the boards.
The Sharks had a 34-17 advantage at the beginning of the second quarter.
Withers made his way to the ring and hit him. Matthew Bardsley slipped behind a defender for an easy two-shot and Timmins made the block.
But all this did not harm the leadership of the Sharks, who continued to develop.
“Too easy,” commentator Justin Nelson said again of the dozen as the Sharks jumped in a series of soft baskets.
“This team in baby blue is sleeping right now,” he continued.
A 64-41 halftime deficit was a pretty loud alarm bell.
The problem the Nuggets faced was that several players they needed to lean on to help them claw their way back into the game weren’t shooting.
Harris’ shooting was off. Timmins was unable to get into the paint.
The third quarter was messy – hide in the dark and pull the blanket over your head.
“Sharks” ran out of three-pointers, approaching 100 points.
Ben Hall missed a three that would have bought the milestone. With 10 minutes to go, the Sharks were forced to settle for a 98-52 advantage.
In other games over the long weekend, the Franklin Bulls defeated the Jets 97-82 in Oakland. The Jets were also defeated by Auckland Tuatara 96-82 on their trip.
The Saints beat the Taranaki Airs 111-92 in New Plymouth and the Canterbury Rams beat the Hawke’s Bay Hawks 112-97 in Christchurch.
Grades: Southland Sharks 116 (Alonzo Burton 20, Ben Hall 19), Otago Nuggets 79 (Michael Harris 21, Sam Timmins 15). The score in the quarter is 34-17, 64-41, 98-52.
The Nuggets’ biggest losses
47 points – vs. Southland (2013)
46 points – v Canterbury (1992)
42 points vs. Southland (2011)
42 pts – vs Waikato Pistons (2011)
42 points vs. Nelson (2003)
40 points – v Canterbury (1990)
38 points – v Taranaki (2005)
37 points – vs. Southland (2023)