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NBL 2014/15 Round 11: Sixers spur to victory over stung Snakes
Off the back of commanding first and third periods, the Adelaide 36ers have once again silenced a few more critics who have been on their back as of late with a 90-86 victory over the Cairns Taipans on Friday night.
As the Sixers controlled both inside and out during the selected quarters, they were able to build double digit leads off their strong play.
While Anthony Petrie (16 points) ran hot early on for 11 first quarter points on 4-4 shooting, it was Brock Motum and Adam Gibson the difference makers when push came to shove.
Motum (17 points, 10 rebounds) had been considerably quiet over the past few weeks since coming off a fresh NBA invite, however a double double certainly starts the path forward to quash those thoughts.
Gibson led his team from the front with a valuable 17 points and nine assists, with a host of big plays throughout the contest; none other than a forced Torrey Craig turnover late in the third quarter when the game was slightly in the Taipans favour.
For the visitors, it was once again Torrey Craig lightning it up in all areas, obviously fancying himself against one of his most favoured opponents to come up against. A final tally of 28 points, seven rebounds and three assists on a stunning 12-14FG shooting, gave the crowd multiple scares as his team closed the gap late in the game. Craig also provided plenty of highlights, throwing down numerous dunks.
In what was a fast paced and high energy game, it was Adelaide who bounced off their home crowd to push the tempo for the early 31-21 quarter time lead.
From there it was a game of runs, as Cairns managed to open the second term on a 11-3 spurt, and then again rely on Craig for eight points in only two minutes midway through the quarter.
The Snakes managed to have the game knotted up at 48 by the main break, as both teams had questions to be answered going into the locker rooms.
It was then the Sixers' turn to shake the game up, controlling everything to do with the third quarter to open up a lead as large as 12 late in the term.
Scottie Wilbekin, fresh off a trip to the barber during the week, managed to keep his team within touching distance. Cairns were within single digits early in the final quarter and were pushing hard to steal a game that looked as though the Sixers had it in control for most of the second half.
A surging Taipans brought the game to within just two points with three minutes to play, however shaky free throw shooting followed by a confidence boosting bucket from Motum sealed the four point margin at the final horn.
The Cairns Taipans now head home and await a visit from the NBL league leading New Zealand Breakers on Sunday in what is set to be a cracking match-up!
Adelaide 36ers 90 (Gibson 17, Motum 17, Wilson 16)
Cairns Taipans 86 (Craig 28, Tragardh 18, Wilbekin 11)
@ Adelaide Arena