Hawke's Bay have cruised to a 96-70 win over Southland while Taranaki subdued Otago 91-88 after a stiff fight in National Basketball League matches tonight.

With Southland resting top players Brendon Polyblank and Mark Dickel for tomorrow's match against Manawatu, Hawke's Bay flew away in the second half winning it 55-37.

Chris Daniel led Hawke's Bay with 20 points off the bench, while coach Paul Henare was able to keep his starters from playing excess minutes, before their quarter final on Tuesday.

After missing the Nelson game through a broken cheekbone, Josh Pace returned to the Hawke's Bay line up with 12 points in under 30 minutes of action.

Southland import Sylvester Spicer top scored for 20 points.

Southland will head south to play Manawatu tomorrow, where if they win or lose by under nine points, they will finish fifth, putting them into a quarterfinal meeting with Nelson.

In New Plymouth, Taranaki held off Otago to win their fifth game of the season and second in a row.

Trailing by as many as eighteen in the third quarter, Otago ended the period on a 20-8 run which cut the deficit to six going into the final quarter.

They then produced a 7-1 spurt to tie the scores at 69-69 but Taranaki held firm to take a narrow win.

Marcus Campbell top scored for Taranaki getting his ninth double-double of the season with 24 points and 15 rebounds. Jack Leasure and Link Abrams each got 17.

For Otago, Scott O'Gallagher had 22 while Craig Bradshaw claimed a double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds.

Otago will aim to pull off the upset of the season tomorrow when they travel to Hamilton to play Waikato who have won 10 straight matches.

- NZPA