NBL 2014/15 Round 9: Crocs bounce back, bite 36ers

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Townsville has successfully stopped their recent skid, putting an end to their slide down the ladder in defeating the Adelaide 36ers 96-84 at home. The Crocs can now keep pace with the Sydney Kings and thus stay in the hunt for the playoffs.

Overcoming a slow start where the Townsville found themselves down five at the first change to the visitors, the Crocs were able to arrest the momentum, particularly after half time.

The Crocs outscored Adelaide by 16 points in the second half, led by four equally strong performances from Brian Conklin, Mickell Gladness, Clint Steindl and Steve Markovic.

Gladness was arguably the pick of the dominant Crocs foursome, finishing with an almighty 19 points on 8-12 shooting, 14 rebounds and 4 blocked shots. He was simply unstoppable, an impenetrable force on both ends of the court. He physically dominated Luke Schenscher, limiting him to 2 points on 1-5 shooting and had him in foul trouble early.

Conklin was his usual bully-ball self, physically imposing over whoever was guarding him and finishing with 23 points including 9-12 from the stripe. This is the kind of performance we’ve come to expect from one of the NBL’s hottest imports.

For Townsville to win games, however, they require other lesser-known players to step up on a game-to-game basis. Tonight, Markovic and Steindl did the job for the Crocs.

Steindl poured in 19 points on an ultra-efficient 6-11 from the field, including a ridiculous 5-7 from deep. Markovic also provided a healthy dose of outside jump shooting, notching 17 points on 6-10 shooting. Those two combined to provide that extra scoring that is lacking in their losing performances.

Adelaide continues to struggle, falling to 3-8 on the season, the playoffs now seemingly a distant memory. Motum continued to be incredibly efficient in a high octane, bench-scoring role, leading the way for the 36ers with 18 points and 9 rebounds on 8-14 shooting.

Motum was ably supported by import Jamar Wilson who chipped in with 18 points and 8 rebounds. Moreover, veteran Anthony Petrie was incredibly efficient on his way to 17 points, doing so on a mere 9 shots.

Boomers stalwart Adam Gibson continues to shine, with his line of 12-4-4 is an example of his constant, consistent production in running the offense.

Defensively Adelaide struggled, unable to stop even the most basic offensive sets. Townsville shot the lights out due to the myriad open looks presented to them. Shooting almost 50% from the floor and a ridiculous 44% from deep, that is a winning formula and Adelaide simply has to find a way to stop these easy buckets.

Townsville improves to 5 wins and 7 losses on the season, keeping themselves within striking distance of both the Kings and Melbourne United in what is set to be a furious battle for the fourth playoff spot.

Adelaide will continue their Queensland road trip as they attempt to conquer the once mighty, now shaky Cairns Taipans in a critical contest. That contest takes place tomorrow night, and incredibly tough turnaround on the road.

Meanwhile, Townsville gets an extra nights rest before they take on the ever-improving Melbourne United outfit. This shapes as a tough matchup for Townsville, one that could possibly dictate whether or not they make the playoffs.

Townsville Crocodiles 96 (Conklin 23, Gladness 19, Steindl 19)

Adelaide 36ers 84 (Motum 18, Wilson 18, Petrie 17)

@ Townsville RSL Stadium