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Bullets shoot down fading 36ers

REUBEN Te Rangi may have had a career night and Adam Gibson the "perfect shooting game" but it was the Kiwi warrior, Mika Vukona, who masterminded Brisbane's 108-98 NBL win over Adelaide tonight.

After a spectacular 32-29 first quarter by the 36ers, they were laying the foundation for a key road win as Jacob Wiley and Anthony Drmic extended the lead into double figures at 48-37 midway through the second.

Brendan Teys had shut down Cam Gliddon - his only three of the first quarter occurred when Teys was off and Drmic went under a screen - and all the momentum was with the 36ers.

Brisbane was spluttering and turning into Listless Street when Vukona and Drmic got into an unnecessary scrap and had to be separated before Nathan Sobey came in to offer his two cents' worth and Vukona shoved him to one side.

Drmic had 14 points at that point, the 5:07 mark of the second quarter.

He finished with 18 and distracted, never again could recapture that form, focus or touch.

Vukona (right) copped an unsportsmanlike foul, so too did Drmic, and Sobey landed a technical foul.

By halftime, that 48-37 bulge had been reduced to 61-60 on a Gliddon runner and by late in the third quarter, after Drmic and Adris DeLeon made out-of-control turnovers, Brisbane was ahead 79-74 and back on the Right Road to victory.

Unquestionably, the officiating changed after halftime, as 19 Adelaide free throws in the first and four in the second might indicate. It’s not as if the 36ers were playing any differently.

With Brisbane forcing the ball out of Sobey’s hands – he had seven turnovers of Adelaide’s 21 to the Bullets’ 11 – and the absence of Ramone Moore (calf) acutely standing out, it largely was left to Daniel Johnson to carry the offence.

Harry Froling again was quality with 10 points in 13 minutes before he fouled out on a questionable tech after being unhappy with some rough Te Rangi treatment.

Te Rangi (below) was magnificent, scoring a career-high 29 points, including a career-best 6-of-9 3-pointers, as Brisbane also exploited Adelaide’s switches on the pick-and-roll to get him open close to the hoop.

His accuracy offset Adelaide’s 42-27 boards advantage.

Off Brisbane’s bench, Gibson had 16 points on a perfect 6-of-6 from the floor, with 4-of-4 3-pointers, and Vukona had his highest return as a Bullet with 16 points.

Vukona compiled that on a splendid 7-of-9 shooting, with four assists. More importantly though, he sufficiently ruffled the Sixers’ feathers as they threatened to run away with the win.

Adelaide never found that momentum again.

BRISBANE BULLETS 108 (Te Rangi 29, Gibson, Vukona 16, Gliddon 14, Bairstow 12; Hodgson 4 rebs; Vukona 4 assts) d ADELAIDE 36ERS 98 (Johnson 23, Drmic 18, Wiley, Sobey 12, Froling 10; Deng, DeLeon, Johnson 6 rebs; Sobey 6 assts) at The Armoury, Brisbane Convention Centre.

WNBL Tonight:
(Ebzery 22, Schwagmeyer, Taylor 13, Farnworth 10; Taylor 11 rebs; Taylor 5 assts) d SYDNEY UNI FLAMES 62 (Wilson 16, Snell 14, Bunton 11, Smart 10; Smart 9 rebs; Smart, Snell 3 assts) at The Courthouse, Bryden’s Stadium.

Nov 2

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