The Townsville Crocodiles have put another dent in the much-fancied armour of the Melbourne Tigers, by welcoming them to The Swamp with a 113-105 overtime victory. Michael Cedar and John Rillie combined to drill 13 three-pointers off the bench for the Crocs, as they were ably supported by imports Rosell Ellis (22 points and 11 rebounds) and Corey “Homicide” Williams (17 and 8).
Cedar’s shooting performance was one of near perfection, with 9/14 from the field, 7/10 from long range and 2/2 at the stripe for a total of 27 points. He even chipped in seven rebounds and two steals, as the Tigers admitted possibly not showing him the respect that he is due (NBL game recap).
Melbourne Coach Al Westover said the loss was a heartbreaker.
“When Ebe hit that shot to go into overtime I was felling pretty good,” he said.
“But we didn’t go on with it and they did and I told our players you have to make plays.”
“Maybe we didn’t give Cedar the respect he deserves … he was probably the difference I thought.”
Meanwhile Rillie showed the form that Crocs fans know he is capable of on a nightly basis, with 6/12 from deep and 9/15 overall for 24 points, to go along with five rebounds, three assists and two steals. This was either a sign from JR that he’s comfortable in his firestarter role off the bench, or more likely the knock on coach Trevor Gleeson’s door that he’s ready to return to the starting lineup.
Look out for more on this one on JR, On Fire, where he already has Episode 12 of the OT podcast available.
It sounds like it was a game that would have been a cracker to watch:
Townsville coach Trevor Gleeson said it was one of the best games he had seen.
“If you don’t like that game of basketball, you don’t like basketball,” he said.
“That had everything, it had Ebe going of at one end, Mick at one end and big guys work hard in the paint.”
“I am really proud of how they played, they played with lot of heart and team work.”
“We just have to duplicate that for the rest of the season.”
“When we are sharing the ball around, JR (Rillie) came of the bench on fire, Mick could drop it in from half-court at one stage.”
These are the types of games that basketball fans need to focus on at the moment. Boxscore here.
The Crocs stay in the Top 6 with their second straight win (6-7), whilst the Tigers sit in third place (8-5) after many predicted them to dominate this NBL season from start to finish.
Down in Victoria, the Dragons gave the Cairns Taipans an absolute hiding, 102-64.
It was a clinical performance from the ladder leaders, with their swarming defence holding the Taipans to a mere 29 percent (22-of-76) from the field, while shooting an impressive 57 percent (40-of-70) themselves.
The Dragons had five players that scored in double figures, with centre Matt Burston (19 points, eight rebounds) skipper Mark Worthington (14 points) and youngster Joe Ingles (12 points, seven assists) setting the tone early, before reserves Rhys Carter (13 points) and Nick Horvath (12 points) finished the demolition in the second half.
The Taipans now sit at 6-10 and need to have a long hard look at themselves it would seem, after losing five on the trot.