The fourth quarter has proven to be pivotal in the two National Basketball League clashes taking place last night.
The Manawatu Jets and Supercity Rangers both benefitted from excellent fourth quarter offensive showings, picking up wins over the Taranaki Mountain Airs and Nelson Giants respectively.
The Jets were made to work hard in their bottom of the table clash, with a comfortable 52-36 halftime lead being cut into by a determined Airs outfit, who took the third quarter 27-17 before cutting the deficit to just four with 93 seconds remaining.
However, the Jets were to hold on in a 72 point fourth quarter which saw 18 fouls whistled, taking out a 108-92 victory to move to 3-7 on the season.
Import shooting guard Dion Harris led the way for Manawatu with 30 points (5/7 3PT) and seven rebounds, while Brook Ruscoe (22) and Jordan Ngatai (16) also carried a portion of the scoring load.
The Airs had another strong performance from import forward Aaron Fuller with 33 points, nine rebounds and five assists, while fellow American Chris Hagan added 25 points, four boards and seven dimes for a Taranaki side who are now 0-9.
In the other clash on Saturday night, the Rangers continued their inconsistent ways, putting in a sterling performance to topple the high-flying Giants 97-85.
A 30-19 advantage in the fourth quarter saw the Rangers run away with what was originally a tight affair, with free-throw shooting being key to the win for Jeff Green's side.
The Rangers shot 29-33 from the charity stripe compared to Nelson's 55% rate (21/38), with Reuben Te Rangi and Jason Cadee combining to go 21/22 from the line.
Te Rangi was impressive with 27 points and five rebounds while Cadee and Sydney Kings teammate Tom Garlepp had 24 points apiece. Youngster Tai Wynyard also gave the Auckland-based franchise quality minutes, stepping up after veteran centre Casey Frank fouled out to post six points and a game-high nine boards.
For Nelson, standout guard McKenzie Moore was again instrumental, dropping 27 points to go with nine rebounds, four assists and four steals, and centre Josh Duinker added 19 points and five rebounds.
New Zealand Breakers skipper Mika Vukona had seven points and six turnovers as he partook in his first game since returning from a stint in Italy.
The Giants are now 7-2 on the season while the Rangers move to 6-4.
The NBL round continues tonight with the Southland Sharks hosting the Hawke's Bay Hawks before the Rangers look to make it two on the trot when they play the Wellington Saints on Monday afternoon.