The Canterbury Rams have made an early statement with a convincing 100-86 win over the Nelson Giants in NZ NBL action Friday night.
Since returning to the league in 2014 the Rams have steadily improved, but one team they have yet to overcome is the Giants, who have won all four previous meetings.
But tonight in front of a full house at Cowles Stadium, a balanced Rams performance ended that losing streak.
Rams head coach Mark Dickel will be pleased with his side's performance, five players scoring over double-digits, and winning all but the final quarter.
After a year absence from the NBL, and fresh from plying his trade in Europe, Marcel Jones had a double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds.
Captain, Ethan Rusbatch tallied an impressive stat line of 21 points, seven assists, six rebounds and four steals in arguably a Player of the Week performance.
Canterbury also got good bench production from bruisers Marques Whippy (15 pts, 7 ast) and new import Desharick Guidry (11 pts 6 reb)
It was going to be a tough ask for the Giants, who were missing their floor general Jarrod Kenny. Fellow guard Raymond Cowells scored a game high 29 points, 21 in the first half.
Phill Jones added 17 points off the bench, now only 32 points away from 7000.
Nelson will have to quickly re-group as they travel to Invercargill to play the defending champion Southland Sharks, who will try to extend their record winning streak to 17 game. nzherald.co.nz will show a live stream of the game.
Tomorrow the Supercity Rangers will try to get their first win of the season when they host the Taranaki Mountainairs who will attempt to end their 19 game losing streak.