NBL 2014/15 Round 15: Kings see off Crocs’ surge to stay alive

Sydney has seen off a stunning fight-back from the Townsville Crocs to post an 89-81 victory and keep their NBL campaign alive.

The Kings had to survive two big second-half surges by the home side, but in the end a 29-13 second term was enough to ensure victory.

Both sides traded baskets in a pulsating opening term, with a Tom Garlepp basket putting the Kings in front 28-27 at the first change.

The match was broken open by the visitors, with a red-hot Ben Madgen netting 12 points for the term, including consecutive baskets in the final 30 seconds, to push Sydney’s lead out to 17 at the long break.

The Kings shot a blistering 19-of-31 for the first half to tally a whopping 57 points, cutting the Crocs defence open with sharp shooting and swift ball movement.

While the Kings looked comfortable, it was the Crocs who came flying out of the blocks to start the second half, going on a 15-6 run in the first five-and-a-half minutes to cut the deficit to eight and suddenly it was game on.

Josh Childress (23 points) arrested the momentum back for the Kings, however, and the visitors steadied for what looked like a match-winning lead as they went into the final change up 15.

Townsville had other ideas though, and suddenly it was game on once again as the Crocs went on another big run, this time 10-1, to open the final term.

The sequence was capped by an unsportsmanlike foul on Madgen, and as the teams went to a timeout the margin was just seven with a little over five minutes still to play.

Mirko Djeric nailed a big three coming out of the timeout to make it a four point contest, but Childress, as he has done so often, answered the call with a basket of his own, and Garlepp added two more at the line to push the lead back out to a comfortable eight.

Mickell Gladness and Brian Conklin teamed up for an impressive alley-oop play to keep the crowd involved and when a Todd Blanchfield three-point bomb made it a one-possession game with over two minutes to play the Townsville RSL was at breaking point.

However, on the very next possession a foul call on Conklin saw him foul out, which zapped the energy right back out of the gym, and Madgen’s two free-throws would prove to be the final nail in Townsville’s coffin.

Childress and Madgen combined for 45 points in the win for the Kings, while Perry faded in the second half but still finished with 14 points for the match.

Gladness was superb for the home side, tallying 14 points and 17 boards to finish with a massive double-double, while Conklin led the scoring with 19 points despite fouling out late.

The Kings remain two games behind Melbourne United in the hunt for a finals berth ahead of their clash in Cairns tomorrow night, while the Crocs slipped four games behind and now look to be destined to miss the playoffs.

Townsville 81 (Conklin 19, Blanchfield 17, Gladness 14)

Sydney 89 (Childress 23, Madgen 22, Perry 14)

@ Townsville RSL Stadium