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Auckland Tuatara pull away from Giants


The Auckland Tuatara have avenged a loss to the Nelson Giants earlier in the season in emphatic fashion.


Three-point shooting proved the difference as the National Basketball League (NBL)-leading Tuatara stretched their winning streak to nine games at Eventfinda Stadium on Auckland's North Shore on Friday night.



The Giants handed Auckland their last loss, 88-84 in Nelson on April 12, but their Week 9 clash was comfortable for the Tuatara, who shot 43 percent (10-of-23) on three-point attempts to Nelson's woeful 12 percent (2-of-16).


Tall Blacks forward Tom Vodanovich went off for a game-high 30 points (9/13 FG, 5/8 3pt, 7/8 FT) and five rebounds, while Rob Loe finished with 21 points (7/13 FG, 3/5 3pt, 4/4 FT), 13 boards, four assists and two blocks.


Four other Tuatara players - Corey Webster, Cam Gliddon, Braydon Iuli and Reuben Te Rangi - scored in double-digits, with Gliddon posting a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.


American guard Kobe Langley led the G-Men with 25 points (10/22 FG, 2/8 3pt, 3/4 FT), eight boards, six assists and two steals, while Dan Grida (17 points) and Theo Akwuba (16 points) were the only others above 10.


Tom Vodanovich Auckland Tuatara basketball
Tom Vodanovich scored a game-high 30 points for the Auckland Tuatara. PHOTO: NBL

Auckland took control of the game late in the first period, going from three down to 13 up at the 7:35 mark of the second quarter after a 19-3 run, with Loe scoring seven.


The Giants scored the last six points of the half and the first six points of the third period to close within two points, but the Tuatara answered immediately.


Up nine entering the fourth, Auckland outscored Nelson 26-17 to close out the win, with Vodanovich scoring nine points.


The Tuatara (11-2) are next on court next Saturday (tip-off 7.30pm) against the Wellington Saints (7-2), while the Giants (4-7) back-up on Sunday (tip-off 6.30pm) in the second leg of their Super City double-header against the Franklin Bulls (7-3).


Auckland Tuatara 99 (Tom Vodanovich 30, Rob Loe 21, Corey Webster 12, Cam Gliddon 11, Braydon Iuli 11, Reuben Te Rangi 10) Nelson Giants 81 (Kobe Langley 25, Dan Grida 17, Theo Akwuba 16). 1Q: 21-19, HT: 50-42, 3Q: 73-64

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