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Giants upset Bulls; Whai hold off Jets


The Nelson Giants have sprung another road upset in the National Basketball League (NBL).


Two weeks after taking down the Wellington Saints in the Capital, the Giants rolled the Franklin Bulls 105-95 at The Stockyard in Pukekohe on Sunday, following the Tauranga Whai's 77-75 win over the Manawatu Jets in Palmerston North.


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Australian forward Dan Grida exploded for a game-high 30 points (11/24 FG, 8/9 FT), eight rebounds and two steals, one of three Giants to score 20-plus points and one of five in double-digits.


Import guard Kobe Langley provided 23 points (7/12 FG, 3/6 3pt, 6/7 FT), four boards, five assists and two steals, while former Tall Black Dan Fotu had 22 points (9/11 FG, 3/5 3pt), four rebounds, four assists and two steals.


American forward Luther Muhammad led the Bulls with 26 points (12/21 FG), while Dom Kelman-Poto stepped up after import Jamaal Brantley was released, finishing with 11 points (5/7 FG) and 13 rebounds.


Kiwi big Sam Timmins put up 18 points (7/17 FG, 4/6 FT), four boards, four assists and three steals, Tall Blacks teammate Ethan Rusbatch 14 points (4/7 FG, 3/6 3pt) and Josh Scott 14 points (6/9 FG), seven rebounds and seven assists.


Dan Grida Nelson Giants basketball
Nelson Giants forward Dan Grida exploded for a game-high 30 points. PHOTO: NBL

The Bulls, who led for 90 percent of the game, were up by as many as eight in the fourth quarter and still had a 93-90 lead with 2:18 remaining.


However, Fotu tied it up with a three and the Giants outscored Franklin 15-2 down the stretch, with Langley and Hayden Jones finishing it off at the free-throw line.


Earlier, the Bulls went on a 10-0 run to go up eight in the first quarter and were ahead most of the way, bar eight straight points from the Giants in the second quarter briefly giving them a four-point lead.


In Week 10, the Giants (5-7) host the Bay Hawks (4-6) at the Trafalgar Centre on Thursday (tip-off 7.30pm), while the Bulls (7-4) head to Invercargill to face the Southland Sharks (1-11) on Sunday (tip-off 3pm).



Young Kiwi guard Te Tuhi Lewis was the story and star of the Whai's win at Fly Palmy Arena, with a score closer than reality.


Lewis hit six threes and scored a game-high 23 points (8/14 FG, 6/10 3pt) off the bench, with all his points coming in the first three quarters.


American power forward Phil Carr put up 14 points (6/15 FG, 2/6 3pt), 10 rebounds, four assists and two steals, Jayden Bezzant 14 points (4/9 FG, 3/6 3pt) and four boards, and Demarcus Holland 14 points (4/10 FG, 5/6 FT), five assists and two steals.


Kiwi big James Moors was impressive for the Jets, finishing with 17 points (7/14 FG) and 14 rebounds, while new import Kahlil Whitney also had 17 points (8/19 FG), along with nine boards and four blocks.


American guard Mustapha Heron contributed 14 points (5/11 FG), four rebounds and six assists, and Liam Judd 10 points (3/4 FG, 3/4 3pt).


Te Tuhi Lewis Tauranga Whai basketball
Te Tuhi Lewis hit six three in his career-high 23 points for the Whai. PHOTO: NBL

The Whai took control of the game with a 20-5 run to take a 21-point lead, with Lewis scoring nine points and Holland seven.


Despite the Jets outscoring the Whai 23-9 in the fourth period, the visitors still led by 11 with 2:24 remaining. Manawatu scored the game's last nine points, with Judd's three at the buzzer making it a one-possession game.


Next week, the Whai (5-7) welcome the Wellington Saints (7-3) to Tauranga on Wednesday (tip-off 7.30pm), while the Jets (1-10) remain at home to face the Otago Nuggets (4-7) on Sunday (tip-off 6.30pm).


Nelson Giants 105 (Dan Grida 30, Kobe Langley 23, Dan Fotu 22, Theo Akwuba 11, Sam Dempster 10) Franklin Bulls 95 (Luther Muhammad 26, Sam Timmins 18, Ethan Rusbatch 14, Josh Scott 14, Dom Kelman-Poto 11, Isaac Davidson 10). 1Q: 22-22, HT: 45-46, 3Q: 69-73


Tauranga Whai 77 (Te Tuhi Lewis 23, Jayden Bezzant 14, Phil Carr 14, Demarcus Holland 14) Manawatu Jets 75 (James Moors 17, Kahlil Whitney 17, Mustapha Heron 14, Liam Judd 10). 1Q: 20-21, HT: 46-35, 3Q: 68-52


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