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Nelson Giants upset Tuatara for first win

The Nelson Giants have got on the board in the 2024 National Basketball League (NBL), with the biggest upset of the season.

After an 0-3 start, the Giants grew a big lead by halftime and held off the star-studded and previously-unbeaten Auckland Tuatara for an 88-84 win at Nelson's Trafalgar Centre on Friday night.

The two Dans, Grida and Fotu, led the way for the G-Men, combining for 35 points.

Grida had a team-high 18 points (6/11 FG, 2/3 3pt, 4/5 FT) and two steals, and Fotu 17 points (8/17 FG), 12 rebounds, five assists and two steals.

Thomas Ingham provided 16 points (5/11 FG, 2/5 3pt, 4/4 FT) and two steals off the bench, while starting guard Alex McNaught finished with 13 points (2/9 FG, 8/12 FT), six boards and two steals.

The Tuatara, without Cam Gliddon, got production from their main stars but just 12 points from their bench.

Corey Webster scored a game-high 25 points (11/20 FG), to go with seven rebounds, six assists and three steals, while Rob Loe had 18 points (7/11 FG), 15 boards and five assists. Reuben Te Rangi added 16 points (6/17 FG), seven rebounds, four assists and two steals and Tom Vodanovich 13 points (5/12 FG) and nine boards.

Dan Fotu Nelson Giants NBL basketball
Dan Fotu posted a double-double for the Nelson Giants, with 17 points and 12 rebounds. PHOTO: NBL

The Tuatara scored the first basket of the game but the Giants immediately responded and never trailed the rest of the way.

With new import Kobe Langley scoring five of his eight points, the Giants went on an 11-0 run to lead 21-10 late in the opening quarter, before the Tuatara answered with seven straight points to cut the gap to four by quarter-time.

The home side continued to grow their lead through the second period, eventually 14 points at halftime and 17 when Grida hit a three to open the third quarter. The Tuatara only got within eight points once early in the fourth until the final minute with the game out of reach.

Next up, the Giants (1-3) host the Manawatu Jets (1-3) on Wednesday (tip-off 7.30pm), while the Tuatara (2-2) complete their South Island double-header on Sunday (tip-off 3pm) against the Canterbury Rams (1-1) in Christchurch.

Nelson Giants 88 (Dan Grida 18, Dan Fotu 17, Thomas Ingham 16, Alex McNaught 13) Auckland Tuatara 84 (Corey Webster 25, Rob Loe 18, Reuben Te Rangi 16, Tom Vodanovich 13). 1Q: 21-17, HT: 45-31, 3Q: 66-55


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