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NBL 2014/15 Round 6: Red-hot Beal leads Wildcats past Crocs
Perth has seen off a stern challenge from Townsville, riding the hot shooting Jermaine Beal to a 93-78 victory at home.
Beal was on fire all night, finishing with 29 points on 10-for-16 shooting, including 6-of-11 from beyond the arc, as he led his side to an important win.
The home side flew out of the blocks as Beal (15 points, 5-6 FG) and Matt Knight (6 points, 3 blocks) got busy early on, with Perth establishing a healthy nine-point lead at the first change.
Just as a blowout looked ominous, the Crocs clawed their way back through a strong and resolute defensive effort, limiting the Wildcats to just 14 points – easily their lowest scoring quarter for the night – as the scoring dried up at both ends.
Todd Blanchfield (16 points) and Brian Conklin (20 points, 5 rebounds) kept the visitors hanging around, with a Conklin bucket tying the scores late in the term before two free throws from DeAndre Daniels (16 points, 10 rebounds, 4 blocks) in the dying seconds ensured the home side kept their noses in front at the main break.
Beal and Daniels came out firing again in the third term, with the former staying red-hot in nailing one tough jumper after another as the home side’s lead approached double digits.
Try as they might, the visitors simply couldn’t bridge the gap as the Wildcats eventually wore them down, with Daniels putting the exclamation mark on the win with an athletic jam with just over two minutes remaining.
Perth moved to 5-2 and is now breathing down the necks of Cairns at the top of the NBL table ahead of their clash with Sydney on Sunday, while the Crocs slipped to 3-5 and remain in seventh place.
Perth 93 (Beal 29, Daniels 16, Knight 12)
Townsville 78 (Conklin 20, Blanchfield 16, Gladness 8)