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Bulls see off Saints in OT; Tuatara rout Whai

The Wellington Saints erased a six-point lead to force overtime, then could not protect a lead in the extra session.

The Franklin Bulls pulled off a 113-109 overtime victory over the Saints at Wellington's TSB Arena on Sunday night, a crucial win as the two teams jostle for playoffs seedings in the National Basketball League (NBL).


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Wellington trailed by six with 90 seconds remaining but sent the game to an extra frame with a Taane Samuel hook shot, Izayah Le'afa free-throw and Tohi Smith-Milner three with 15 seconds to run.

Josh Scott, who missed a game-winning three at the end of regulation, scored 11 of the Bulls' 13 points in overtime, including a triple with 1:55 remaining to give them the lead for good, after the Saints had led by three.

Scott finished with 20 points (7/17 FG, 2/4 3pt, 4/5 FT) and six assists, while Luther Muhammad top-scored with 27 points (11/18 FG, 4/8 FT) and five rebounds, with third import Lee Skinner going for 24 points (9/17 FG, 3/8 3pt), 14 boards and two steals.

The Bulls' Kiwi core also contributed, with Isaac Davidson putting up 15 points (4/9 FG, 2/4 3pt, 5/6 FT) and four boards, and Sam Timmins 14 points (6/7 FG), 12 rebounds, six assists, two steals and three blocks.

Lee Skinner Franklin Bulls NBL basketball
Lee Skinner put up 24 points and 14 boards for the Franklin Bulls. PHOTO: NBL

Tall Blacks guard Izayah Le'afa hit six triples as he exploded for a game-high 35 points (9/22 FG, 6/13 3pt, 11/14 FT), six boards and four assists in the loss.

Australian guard Ben Ayre put up 22 points (6/15 FG, 2/8 3pt, 8/9 FT) and five assists, and Samuel 21 points (10/16 FG), six rebounds and two steals. Tohi Smith-Milner had 18 points (5/15 FG, 3/7 3pt, 5/6 FT), six boards and four assists and new import Terry Henderson 11 points and two steals in his NBL debut.

Down 13 after the first period, the Saints dominated the second quarter, outscoring the Bulls 34-12 to lead by as many as 11.

With the last bucket of the half, then a 10-0 run to open the third, the Bulls retook the lead, which changed hands 12 times in the quarter. The Bulls twice led by six in the fourth period but could not close it out in regulation.

In Week 13, the Bulls (10-4) return to Pukekohe to host the Taranaki Airs (11-4) in another top-five clash on Sunday (tip-off 6.30pm), while the Saints (10-5) play an away double-header against the Bay Hawks (6-9) on Thursday and Canterbury Rams (13-2) on Saturday.

The Auckland Tuatara had no trouble joining the Rams on 13 wins, easing to a 100-77 win over the Tauranga Whai at a sold-out Eventfinda Stadium on Auckland's North Shore earlier on Sunday.

Braydon Iuli was the unlikely top-scorer for the Tuatara, with 19 points (7/10 FG, 5/7 FT) and two steals off the bench, supported by Rob Loe with 18 points (7/10 FG, 4/5 FT), eight boards four assists and two steals, and Corey Webster with 17 points (6/17 FG, 5/10 3pt) and 13 assists.

Young forward Charlie Dalton had 14 points (6/9 FG, 2/2 3pt) off the bench, Cam Gliddon 12 points (5/5 FG, 2/2 3pt) and eight rebounds, and Tom Vodanovich 10 points (4/11 FG, 2/6 3pt) and six boards.

American power forward Phil Carr led the Whai with 19 points (8/18 FG), 11 rebounds and two steals, aided by Kruz Perrott-Hunt with 15 points (5/12 FG, 3/5 3pt) and Demarcus Holland with 14 points (6/10 FG), seven assists and two steals.

The Tuatara led by just four points early in the third quarter before reeling off 12 points in less than two minutes, including two triples from Webster, to lead by 16 points. Another 13-2 stretch in the fourth turned the game into a blowout.

The Tuatara (13-3) open Week 13 on Wednesday night (tip-off 7.30pm) at home against the Otago Nuggets (6-9), while the Whai (5-10) will look to keep their dwindling playoffs hopes alive during the Deep South double-header.

Franklin Bulls 113 (Luther Muhammad 27, Lee Skinner 24, Josh Scott 20, Isaac Davidson 15, Sam Timmins 14) Wellington Saints 109 (Izayah Le'afa 35, Ben Ayre 22, Taane Samuel 21, Tohi Smith-Milner 18, Terry Henderson 11) in OT. 1Q: 36-23, HT: 48-57, 3Q: 76-78, 4Q: 100-100

Auckland Tuatara 100 (Braydon Iuli 19, Rob Loe 18, Corey Webster 17, Charlie Dalton 14, Cam Gliddon 12, Tom Vodanovich 10) Tauranga Whai 77 (Phil Carr 19, Kruz Perrott-Hunt 15, Demarcus Holland 14, Jayden Bezzant 10, Denhym Brooke 10). 1Q: 23-18, HT: 49-40, 3Q: 79-63


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