The Southland Sharks jumped to the top of the Sal's NBL Points Table after beating the Auckland Tuatara 97-77 tonight at ILT Stadium Southland.
The Tuatara, who were without Tall Blacks and Breakers big man Rob Loe due to a hip injury, leapt to life early from beyond the arc with Cam Gliddon and former Shark Jarrad Weeks draining three-pointers to see the Tuatara leap to an early 12-4 lead after only 2 minutes. The Sharks settled quickly and worked their way into the game to tie the ball game at the first break at 21 a-piece.
The Sharks then started to slowly take control of the game, claiming the next three quarters by six, six and eight points respectively to run out comfortable winners.
Jeremy Kendle again claimed the maximum 10 MVP points of offer courtesy of his 19 points on just 11 shots with five rebounds and nine assists. Dru-Leo Leusogi-Ape got downhill to flash his renowned athleticism and drained three 3PTs to finish with a team-high 20 points while Romaro Gill dominated inside in his best performance of the season with 18 points on 6/6 shooting from the field with 10 rebounds and three blocks. Ben Hall also had a night, continuing his impressive start to the season, registering a career-high 15 points and 9 rebounds.
Head Coach Guy Molloy was pleased with the way the team responded after a disappointing result in Dunedin the previous week.
"Credit to our team because it was a big out for the Tuatara with Rob Loe not playing but that also meant adjustments for us knowing that they were going to play quicker and shoot more threes. When they came out and hit their first four threes I thought it could be a long night but we adjusted really well and kept faith in what we had to do defensively offensively, apart from a few off-script turnovers, I was pretty happy with the effort," Molloy said.
The Sharks now face a challenging road trip in Christchurch and Taradale in Week Four. The Sharks will face the Canterbury Rams at Cowles Stadium on Friday (April 28) before travelling to Hawke's Bay to face the Hawks on Sunday 30 April.
The Sharks second win meant that they are now one of six teams with two wins on the points table in what is already looming as one of the closest seasons in recent memory.