The Wellington Saints have beaten the James Blond Supercity Rangers 108-87 in a physical encounter.
Torrey Craig led all scorers with 34 points and to go along with his 10 rebounds for the Saints who edge closer to the Mike Pero Nelson Giants with five wins and two losses. Benny Anthony Jr scored 18 and point guard Shea Ili had 16.
NZ Breakers forward, Mika Vukona, played his first game in a Rangers uniform and added some fire to the contest when he grabbed his Breaker team mate Tai Wesley by the throat after both got into a scuffle and fell to the ground. Both Wesley and Vukona ended up being ejected with still over nine minutes to play in the final quarter. It seemed to have favoured Wellington from there on as they outscored the Rangers 35-21, Craig scoring 12 in the period.
Wellington got off to a hot start winning the opening quarter 31-15, but the Rangers improved their defensive effort in the middle quarters clawing their way back to within eight heading into the fourth. But in the final period Wellington found their offense again shooting 12/16 from the field compared to the Rangers 8/23.
League leading scorer Eric Devendorf carried the Rangers with 30 points, causing Wellington issues on the defensive end in particular with his pull up jumper. Lindsay Tait scored 17, converting on 5/7 from three against his former team. Terrence Roberts was the only other notable scorer with 17 off the bench for the Rangers who drop to three wins and four losses.
Both teams have another game in Round Six, Wellington will return home to face the Canterbury Rams (4-3) tomorrow while the Rangers will travel to Nelson to play the top of table Giants (6-2) on Saturday.