The Mike Pero Nelson Giants have claimed a 73-56 win over the EnviroNZ Franklin Bulls on Saturday night.
It was a low scoring first quarter at The Stockyard, with a Riley Bensemann 3-pointer in the final second giving the Giants a 14-11 lead through 10 minutes. Bulls guard Jayden Bezzant went to the bench with three fouls just over three minutes into the game, something that caused the offence to stutter at times during the quarter. He would finish with just four points in the game.
Both teams found their shooting in the second quarter but it was the Giants that managed to create some separation, outscoring the Bulls 25-17 in the quarter for a 39-28 lead at the half. The Giants' defence proving to be a factor, forcing 11 first half turnovers by the Bulls.
The Bulls came out strong in the third quarter, really making the Giants feel their physicality and getting stops on defence. Franklin turned the ball over just three times in the quarter, too, helping them attack with more consistency. The Giants still weren't making it easy and it was a low scoring quarter overall, falling 16-13 in Nelson's favour.
It was captain Sam Dempster's night, though, as his game-high 17 points on 4-of-7 shooting from three helped power the Giants past the Bulls in the fourth. He also had eight rebounds and four assists, doing a bit of everything in a throwback performance for the 31-year-old.
The Giants move to 2-1 on the season and now head home to host a Canterbury Rams squad possessing some firepower in their backcourt with Sunday Dech and Ryan Taylor. The Bulls remain home and take on the Otago Nuggets next Friday night.
SCORE: Bulls 56, Giants 73
Bulls: Davidson 15 PTS, 3 3PM| Brooke 12 PTS | Bennet-Keil 11 PTS, 6 REB, | Rissetto 11 PTS, 5 REB
Giants: Dempster 17 PTS, 8 REB, 4 AST, 4 3PM | Mourning 12 PTS, 4 REB | West 12 PTS, 4 REB, 4 AST | McNaught 11 PTS, 3 3PM, 3 STL
Full box score HERE.
Stuff MVP Votes
Sam Dempster (Giants) - 9 votes
Jarrod West (Giants) - 7 votes
Trey Mourning (Giants) - 5 votes
Jayden Bezzant (Bulls) - 5 votes
Isaac Davidson (Bulls) - 3 votes
Kane Bennett-Keil (Bulls) - 1 vote
Bulls - May 20 vs. Otago Nuggets
Giants - May 21 vs. Canterbury Rams
Round 3 Sal's NBL Schedule