The EnviroNZ Franklin Bulls have picked up a crucial 86-76 win over the Wheeler Motor Company Canterbury Rams in Pukekohe on Saturday evening.
The Bulls were without leading scorer Corey Webster in this one but they had no problems scoring the ball early, dropping 28 points on the Rams in the first quarter. It was a balanced scoring effort for the Bulls, but they were getting into the paint with ease and doing damage with regularity.
On the other end the Rams were having no issues scoring themselves with 25 first quarter points. American import Matthew Moyer started his first game with the Rams and made the most of it with nine points in the first 10 minutes of the contest. He was aggressive under the hoop and was doing a good job of creating contact.
The Bulls opened the second quarter on an 11-2 run, again picking apart the Rams' defence with ease. They would outscore the Rams 23-15 in the quarter, building themselves an 11-point advantage heading into halftime. Centre Anzac Rissetto had 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting and was being met with little resistance down low.
Canterbury managed to cut into the deficit over the final few minutes of the quarter, but they were probably lucky not to be down more at the half. Missing their top scorer and main playmaker in Sunday Dech, the Rams' offence lacked that consistent punch to really keep the Bulls on their heels. And, because they were struggling defensively it was an uphill battle for most of the night. The absence of forward Max Darling also left the Rams in a tough spot in the paint.
As a team, Franklin shot 55% from the field and held the Rams to 37% shooting and 1-of-9 from downtown in the half.
The Rams showed some fight in the third quarter, cutting the deficit to eight points with 10 minutes to play. Head coach Judd Flavell made some adjustments at halftime to shore up the defence and it worked with the Bulls scoring 17 points in the third. Bulls swingman Isaac Davidson was having one of his best outings of 2022 with 22 points on 10-of-16 shooting through three quarters of work.
Canterbury would hover but never really threaten the Bulls throughout the game. Both teams came into the contest undermanned, and it was the Bulls that were able to establish early ground in the first quarter and they'd never let the Rams back in. The Rams' offence went cold in the fourth, as they just couldn't create easy offensive opportunities without Dech.
The Bulls' win means they take the season series between the two teams, ensuring they win any head-to-head scenario in the standings at the end of the season.
SCORE: Bulls 86, Rams 76
Bulls: Davidson 22 PTS | Potts 18 PTS | Rissetto 15 PTS
Rams: Karena 19 PTS, 7 REB | Britt 18 PTS | Moyer 13 PTS, 14 REB
Full box score HERE.
Stuff MVP Votes
Isaac Davidson (Bulls) - 10 votes
Taylor Britt (Rams) - 5 votes
Giddy Potts (Bulls) - 5 votes
Michael Karena (Rams) - 4 votes
Jayden Bezzant (Bulls) - 3 votes
Leon Henry (Bulls) - 3 votes
Bulls – July 6 @ Taranaki Airs
Rams – July 10 @ Auckland Tuatara
Round 10 Sal's NBL Schedule