Behind a rare triple-double from Sam Muldrow, the Frankston RSL withstood a late Geelong Supercats challenger to chalk up their second win of the season.
The Blues led almost from start to finish, taking advantage of a blistering first half in which they outscored the Supercats 56-36 behind a scoring onslaught from Bennie Lewis and Melbourne United recruit Dan Trist as Muldrow owned the paint at the other end.
Lewis was red-hot in the opening 5 minutes as he scored a quick 10 points to get the Blues offense humming, but for as good as his opening was, it was Muldrow who was wowing the crowd. The 6’9 import forward slammed one home to get his scoring moving, but it was his 4 blocked shots and rim protection that had the crowd buzzing. Muldrow was causing all kinds of headaches for Geelong in the paint. First he blocked centre Maalo Hicks twice, before doing the same to Geelong import John Davis to have the home crowd on their feet.
Trist and then Tristan Lloyd kept the scoring going for the Blues late in the period, but Supercat captain Nathan Herbert hit a miraculous fade-away from the right corner to beat the buzzer, but the Blues were leading by 10 at the first break.
Muldrow continued to torment Davis in the paint, blocking him twice more and changing two other shots. When he drained a triple at the other end, the Blues led by 15. Trist’s efficient scoring was becoming increasingly evident as he raced to 20 first-half points. A second three-pointer to Muldrow just before half time saw the Blues enter the main break leading by 20 and in total command.
A reinvigorated Geelong side came out in the third period, with DeMarcus Gatlin and Davis finally getting going offensively. After a Matthew Johns trey, Gatlin scored again to close the margin to just 6 points to silence the crowd. Buckets to Lewis, Lloyd and free throws by Trist managed to keep the home side up by 9 heading into the final term.
Michel Luxford hit one from NBA distance, and then Hicks scored inside as Geelong closed the margin to just 4. Unlike earlier in the season, the Blues responded, with Rob Linton draining a three to ignite a 16-3 run by the Blues as their lead ballooned back out to 15.
Geelong were not yet done though, with Herbert again stepping up to make big shots and Gatlin joining in to quickly get back to within 5 as the momentum shifted again. Muldrow registered his 10th blocked shot of the game against Hicks to clock up his triple-double. Linton hit a late three to steady the ship, while Captain Jake Macauley finished the game with 5 straight points, including 2-4 from the charity stripe, to ice the game as the Blues held on for a 96-87 victory.
Muldrow finished with an impressive line of 17 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocks to club up his first SEABL triple-double. Trist finished with 26 points (8-14 FG), 13 rebounds and 2 steals, as Lewis also added 26 points with 7 rebounds and 4 assists as they guided the Blues to an important win.
For Geelong, Herbert added a team-best 22 points, with Gatlin gathering 21 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Davis had a 10 point and 12 rebound double-double, but was just 5-19 from the field as Muldrow negated his influence.
Geelong drops out of the top 8 following their loss, while the Blues now have a chance to consolidate their victory when they next host the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence on Saturday, 16 June.