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NBL 2014/15 Round 14: Cairns claim first ever Reptile Rumble sweep
It took a courageous effort throughout the year, as the Cairns Taipans have scored their first ever regular season clean sweep of the Townsville Crocodiles with the 78-73 victory at the Townsville RSL stadium on Sunday.
As Matt Burston took off to start the game and give his side a handy lead, it was captain Cameron Gliddon who had been in a little bit of a form slump, to come out firing in the final quarter and lead his side to the decisive victory.
Burston was simply no match for whoever the Crocs could send to him, be it Mickell Gladness or Greg Vanderjagt, as he finished the game with 16 points and 15 rebounds.
With the game in the balance after back and forth action for the first three quarters, the Taipans could only muster up a one point lead at the final break.
Enter Cameron Gliddon.
When a big play was needed to be made in the fourth, Gliddon was there to step up. This included a big three point bomb early in the quarter to extend Cairns' lead, while with the clock ticking down late in the quarter, Gliddon rose to the occasion again. A clean strip off former teammate Clint Steindl gave the Snakes a crucial stop and Gliddon put the nail in the coffin with a long two point jump shot.
His final stat line of 14 points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal may not sound like a big game, however he came up big when his team needed him.
For the Crocs, it was more of the same, Brian Conklin was at the head of the pack with 22 points, being a menace inside the paint getting to the line 14 times.
Steve Markovic was back to his brilliant best, targeting mismatches and opening up cutting lanes for his teammates to find easy scores. He finished with 20 points and seven assists on an efficient 6-8FGF shooting.
Townsville shot a very low 55 field goals for the game, as the Taipans were able to shoot 17 more shots heavily due to their 16 offensive rebounds. Burston can be one to thank for that, clinching seven of his own.
Looking towards next week, the Taipans are now heavy favourites to clinch second spot on the NBL ladder as they are three wins clear of the Perth Wildcats (although Perth have three games in hand). For the Crocs, it is basically season over as they are need of a miracle as the team is three and a half games behind fourth placed Melbourne.
Both teams face the Sydney Kings next weekend at their respective home venues.
Townsville Crocodiles 73 (Conklin 22, Markovic 20, Steindl 10)
Cairns Taipans 78 (Burston 16, Gliddon 14, Wilbekin 12)
@ Townsville RSL