NBL 2013/14: Round 8 Wrap

Round 8 saw thrillers and big time performers rise to the top, with the top sides extending the gap at the peak of the ladder. Let’s see how the round unfolded.

Vukona, Breakers roll past Tigers

New Zealand has won two games in a row for the first time this season after overcoming a slow start to beat the Melbourne Tigers 84-74 on Thursday night.

Mika Vukona (14 points, 17 rebounds, 8 assists) was superb, leading the way with a bit of everything in showing why he is one of the most damaging forwards in the league.

The Tigers started strongly behind Chris Goulding (23 points, 4 assists) and Lucas Walker, and took a five point lead into the first break, looking focused and set to bounce back after a disappointing loss in round seven.

The second term was even until six fouls in two minutes from the Tigers led to an 11-0 run for the Breakers and allowed them to take a three point lead into the halftime break, with Vukona going in with 12 points, 12 boards and 4 assists in a brilliant display.

The Tigers clawed their way back in the third and went into the final term trailing by just two points, with Scott Morrison (21 points, 14 rebounds, 9-13 FG) unstoppable inside and keeping his side in touch.

Just as Melbourne challenged, however, the Breakers rallied and went on a run to extend their lead to double digits on the back of some Tom Abercrombie (14 points, 5 rebounds) magic, while Kerron Johnson (13 points) also bobbed up late to seal the win for New Zealand.

New Tigers import Mustapha Farrakhan (9 points, 2-7 FG) struggled again after a strong start, failing to register a single rebound or assist in 25 minutes, while Mark Worthington (11 points, 4-13 FG) also failed to fire and managed to boost his stats late when the game was over.

Melbourne will look to rebound against the Sydney Kings at the Cage on Sunday, while New Zealand travel to Perth next Friday night before heading to Melbourne for a return clash against the Tigers.

Sixers hold off Hawks to secure sixth straight home win

The Adelaide 36ers defeated the Wollongong Hawks 82-81 after a rampant Hawks outfit rallied in the final minutes to fall agonisingly close to an unlikely victory.

The visitors were led by their volume three point shooting, where they attempted 41 for the match. Rotnei Clarke (19 points, 4 assists), Rhys Martin (16 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists) and Oscar Forman (16 points) were the main culprits in the perimeter display, however it was the defensive end that let them down.

The Hawks gave up 46 points in the paint compared to just 22 of their own, while being outrebounded by an alarming margin 48-31. Sixers centre Daniel Johnson gave them nightmares in the opening half, as he finished his 25 minute display with a total of 16 points and 12 boards.

photo credit: PetarS via photopin cc

Adelaide once again relied on their point guard and MVP candidate Gary Ervin in the final quarter, as he knotted seven of his 16 points in the last few minutes.

Behind Forman and Clarke, the traveling side wouldn’t go away however, as the comeback looked well and truly on as they narrowed the margin in the final two minutes despite being down 11 only minutes prior.

However, Forman wouldn’t want to watch a replay of the game anytime soon as he missed a critical lay-up opportunity with under a minute which would have put the game right in the balance. This allowed the Sixers to bridge the gap. Two late triples, including one on the buzzer from Forman made the scoreboard the slimmest of margins.

Turnovers were a key reason Wollongong managed to stay in the contest, despite a terrible rebounding deficit, managing to force the Sixers to turn the ball over 16 times to their 9. This led to the Hawks having more field goal attempts than their opponent which was a real surprise.

Adam Gibson (9 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists) and Anthony Petrie (9 points, 9 rebounds) were key role players throughout the game for the home side, while for the Hawks Kevin Tiggs (13 points, 3 steals) complimented his shooters well.

Adelaide head to Townsville to take on the Crocs next week, while the Hawks look to find a rare win against Sydney at home.

Ennis fires ‘Cats past Snakes in OT

James Ennis and the Perth Wildcats overcame a slow start and a spirited Taipans outfit to register an 85-75 overtime victory in Cairns on Saturday night.

Ennis (33 points, 8 rebounds) started poorly but overcame poor foul shooting to register a season-high in points and lead his side to victory.

The Snakes jumped out to a 19-7 lead on the back of Alex Loughton (14 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) and Demetri McCamey (8 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists) and extended it to 30-16 in the second term before Perth mounted a charge to get with just three points at the long break.

Shawn Redhage (17 points, 12 rebounds) and Ennis led the way in the third as the ‘Cats built a six-point lead by three quarter time, with Jesse Wagstaff (8 points, 10 rebounds) also solid throughout.

However the Snakes were not done with, with Cam Tragardh (22 points, 7 rebounds) and Loughton helping to mount a late charge and tie the game away on a McCamey basket, sending the game to an extra period.

However Ennis wouldn’t be denied, nailing a three to take back the lead for good with just over three minutes remaining in overtime before Jermaine Beal (13 points) connected on consecutive bombs to seal victory for the high flying Wildcats and condemn the home side to a seventh straight loss.

Perth will host New Zealand next Friday night in a grand final rematch, while Cairns will host Adelaide in another tough match-up on Saturday night as they look to break their seven game losing streak.

Kings push past Melbourne thanks to Young’s big game

The Sydney Kings have solidified their position inside the top 3 of the NBL with a 67-63 road victory over the Melbourne Tigers at The Cage.

New import and ex-NBA star Sam Young had a break-out game registering 27 points and 10 rebounds in a 34 minute display which included slick footwork and thunderous dunks.

In what was the highlight of the afternoon, Young found his way spiking the ball into the net off an unorthodox Kings offensive possession with what could possibly be dunk of the year. A tip-jam that would entertain all of the casual basketball fans across the country.

Young couldn’t win the game off his own shot however, and his teammates didn’t disappoint. While A.J. Ogilvy (10 points, 12 rebounds, 4 blocks) may not have had a now expected stellar game, he certainly provided the opening burst for the Kings as they looked inside to Ogilvy throughout the first quarter.

Sydney jumped out to a huge lead shortly after quarter time on the back of an amazing 24-0 run. The Tigers couldn’t face the tempo the visitors were providing and were stunned in front of a capacity crowd.

Chris Goulding (20 points, 8/25FG) once again carried the load on offence for the Tigers and he started to pull the margin back, while Scott Morrison (20 points, 4 rebounds) was also key in the team’s fight back.

While Mark Worthington (8 points, 10 rebounds) was quiet prior to half time, he injected some energy into the home side which sparked their defence into gear. Allowing only seven points in the third term, the Tigers were only three down at the final break.

Morrison dunked off a sweet Goulding pass to tie the game at 62 a piece with only a couple of minutes remaining, however it was all Sam Young from there hitting two clutch shots to kill the game.

The Tigers face New Zealand at home next Sunday in which is a monumental game knowing the recent form of both teams, while Sydney head to Wollongong to continue their hot streak.

Round 8 Summary

New Zealand Breakers 84 (Abercrombie 14, Vukona 14, Johnson 13) Melbourne Tigers 74 (Goulding 23, Morrison 21, Worthington 11) Attendance: 3,211 @ North Shore Events Centre

Adelaide 36ers 82 (Ervin 16, Johnson 16, Cadee 10) Wollongong Hawks 81 (Clarke 19, Martin 13, Forman 13) Attendance 4,080 @ Adelaide Arena

Cairns Taipans 75 (Tragardh 22, Loughton 14, Gliddon 9) Perth Wildcats 85 (Ennis 33, Redhage 17, Beal 13) Attendance: 3,508 @ Cairns Convention Centre

Melbourne Tigers 63 (Morrison 20, Goulding 20, Worthington 8) Sydney Kings 67 (Young 27, Carmouche 14, Ogilvy 10) Attendance: 3,500 @ State Netball & Hockey Centre