The Mike Pero Nelson Giants bounced back with a 96-90 win over the Southland Sharks in Invercargill on Thursday night, erasing a 12-point halftime deficit to get across the line.
The Sharks came out strong in the first half, looking like a completely different team to what we've seen in recent weeks. They shot 64 percent from the field and 6-of-14 on 3-point attempts through the first 20 minutes. Their physicality caused problems for the Giants, but they did get a nice contribution from American import Sam Thompson with 13 first half points. He would finish with a game-high 23 points and nine boards.
Mojave King's 12 points helped the Sharks to a 54-42 halftime lead. King's athleticism was on display in this one, but he also continues to show a flashes with his outside shot making three 3-pointers in the game. He totaled 21 points in the contest on 8-of-14 shooting.
Dru-Leo Leusogi-Ape was fantastic for the Sharks, scoring a season-high 19 points off the bench. He instantly made an impact when he entered the game and was making plays on both ends of the floor. He's responded in a big way when given minutes - keep an eye on him moving forward.
The Giants clapped back in the second half, outscoring the Sharks 30-16 in the third to take a 72-70 lead into the fourth quarter. Imports Jarrod West and Trey Mourning both got going for Nelson - West scoring 10 points in the quarter alone. West had 16 points, six assists and three steals in the game, adding three 3-pointers. Mourning finished with 21 points and 10 boards, pairing nicely with West in this one.
Basketball is a game of runs and that was on full display tonight with the Sharks opening the fourth quarter on a 12-4 run to take an 82-76 lead with four minutes left. The Giants would then respond with three straight 3-pointers to gain the 3-point advantage with just over two minutes to go. Nelson wouldn't look back from that point and held off a valiant Sharks squad without their head coach Rob Beveridge.
The Giants have one day off before a date with the Otago Nuggets in Dunedin.
SCORE: Sharks 90, Giants 96
Sharks: King 21 PTS | Leusogi-Ape 19 PTS | Kelman-Poto 18 PTS, 5 REB | Shepard III 13 PTS, 13 REB
Giants: Thompson 23 PTS | Mourning 21 PTS, 10 REB | West 19 PTS, 6 AST, 3 STL | Dempster 10 PTS, 10 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL
Full box score HERE.
Stuff MVP Votes
Sam Thompson (Giants) - 9 votes
Mojave King (Sharks) - 6 votes
Trey Mourning (Giants) - 5 votes
Sam Dempster (Giants) - 4 votes
Winston Shepard (Sharks) - 2 votes
Jarrod West (Giants) - 2 votes
Dom Kelman-Poto (Sharks) - 2 votes
Sharks – June 9 @ Hawke's Bay Hawks
Giants – June 4 @ Otago Nuggets