The Go Media Otago Nuggets have started their R5 northern adventure with a comprehensive 103-82 win against a hapless and out-of-sorts EnviroNZ Franklin Bulls team.
The Nuggets got the better start, leading 28-20 after the first period thanks largely to import duo Geremy McKay (12pts) and Isaiah Moss (10pts). The pair combined for 9-of-12 shooting and also colletively dragged down 9 of the team's 13 rebounds.
The Bulls struggled a little with the zone defence being thrown at them with the high-scoring Josh Selby (2pts) and Zane Waterman (4pts) well held, leaving Denhym Brooke (8pts) to lead the way.
A slick 8-0 start to the second period by the Nuggets sent shockwaves through the Bulls, who were forced to call a time-out in the hope of halting the momentum while finding some answers of their own.
Zane Waterman came out of the mini break and started to find his stroke, ending the half with 17 points, while Denhym Brooke (11pts) did his bit with a trio of triples.
Leading 54-44 at the half, the Nuggets looked in sync, getting through their sets and getting plenty out of McKay, Moss and Sam Timmins.
After being limited to just 7-points in the first half the Bulls started the second half without star import Josh Selby on the court with the star seen clutching at his hamstring.
By midway through the third the Nuggets (67-55) continued to hold the Bulls at arm's length with Timmins registering yet another double-double.
With the Bulls needing a lift, Selby returned to the game, but not until the third period had already chewed through seven minutes. Unfortunately for the home team, he lasted just a minute before hobbling off with his hamstring again causing discomfort.
With Selby done the visitors sensed an opportunity to close this one out and promptly went on a run to finish with a 24-14 quarter, taking a strong 78-58 lead into the last break.
Another big concern for the the Bulls was the dominance of the Nuggets on the glass, up 46-25 with a quarter to play with a monstrous 17 of them coming at the offensive end. By the game's end they celebrated a 59-33 rebounding win with 23 offensive boards.
In every facet of the game the Nuggets came up trumps. Points inside the paint they won 52-22, points off turnovers took won 23-9, while the second-chance points was a solid 24-4 victory.
One stat the Bulls did win was made three-pointers (16-13), but it came 42 of their 74 shots.
Timmins was again a star with 31 points and 16 rebounds, Moss finished with a silky 24 points with 6 triples, while McKay was his energetic self with 23 points and 8 rebounds.
Waterman finished with 21 points for the Bulls and Brooke chipped in with 17 points (including 5 treys).
Franklin Bulls (82) lost to Otago Nuggets (103) - BOXSCORE
Bulls: Zane Waterman 21pts, Denhym Brooke 17pts, 5 treys & 4blks, Isaac Davidson 10pts.
Nuggets: Sam Timmins 31pts & 16rbs, Isaiah Moss 24pts & 6 treys, Geremy McKay 23pts.
Stuff MVP Votes
Sam Timmins (Nuggets) 10
Isaiah Moss (Nuggets) 8
Zane Waterman (Bulls) 5
Geremy McKay (Nuggets) 4
Denhym Brooke (Bulls) 3
(Photo Credit: PhotosportNZ)