Hungry Jack's NBL
Coach, Captain Back and Phoenix End JJ's Winning Run
The coach and captain were back and the South East Melbourne Phoenix were able to snap the winning streak of the Tasmania JackJumpers with Sunday's 83-71 victory at John Cain Arena.
The Phoenix were fresh off a loss on Thursday also on their home floor but they were missing coach Simon Mitchell, captain Kyle Adnam, veteran shooter Cam Gliddon and gun import point guard Xavier Munford through COVID protocols.
While Gliddon and Munford were still missing Sunday against the JackJumpers, coach Mitchell and captain Adnam were back, and in a grind for virtually the whole 40 minutes, they were able to hand Tasmania their first defeat in the past five matches.
Not helping the JackJumpers' hopes of winning a fifth straight and returning to the top four was the absence of starting centre Will Magnay, especially up against the size of class of Zhou Qi and Brandon Ashley of the Phoenix.
That proved a pivotal factor in the result too with Qi finishing with 11 points and seven rebounds, and Ashley 10 points even though foul trouble again limited him to 11 minutes.
The Phoenix ended up outrebounding the JackJumpers by nine, got to the foul line 28 times to 17 and had 44 points in the paint to 26.
Ryan Broekhoff continued to struggle shooting but his ability to impact the game in other areas was again huge. He got to the line for 10/11 to end up with 18 points, eight rebounds and five steals.
An unwell Mitch Creek hit a couple of threes to shoot out of his slump too for 15 points while Adnam put up 13 points and five assists in his return.
Phoenix coach Simon Mitchell was glad to be back on the sidelines and with the team after missing the previous three games, and was proud of the team's performance.
"I thought we were pretty impressive for the most part. There were a couple of breakdowns and fouling three-point shooters so there were some things we still need to eliminate, but I felt overall we did a pretty good job," Mitchell said.
"We did well on Steindl, Kyle was great on Magette and I thought from a defensive standpoint we were pretty solid. There's still room to improve but I think we took them out of what they had been doing in their wins.
"That was good offence and they are a tough team to operate against so it's hard to get your rhythm, but we were interior-orientated and I thought that worked for us. Magnay not being there to protect the rim was a huge bonus for us so we'll take that win and move on."
Josh Adams battled hard for Tasmania with 23 points while Josh Magette added 10 points and five assists, Jack McVeigh nine points and six rebounds, and MiKyle McIntosh eight points and four rebounds in just 18 minutes.
JackJumpers coach Scott Roth was quick to not point at the absence of Magnay for anything to do with the final result.
"Don't disrespect my other guys. They all fought very hard. It was Jock Perry's first time starting and Fab, JB and our bigs all fought hard," Roth said.
"This team is not Will Magnay, this team is 15 JackJumpers working and doing the same thing over and over to get better at. We miss one body and there'll be multiple times throughout the year we miss bodies, and we move on.
"Mags is obviously a big part of everything we do but it's a little bit disrespectful to think my other guys didn’t play as hard as they possibly could to get the job done. I'm proud of those guys for their battle and this team has a lot of grit and character. That's one thing I love about them."
The Phoenix scored the first four points of the game through Zhou Qi and Kyle Adnam before the JackJumpers hit threes courtesy of Matt Kenyon and Jaylen Adams, but they were the only four field goals in the first six minutes of play.
It was an offensive struggle in the first period with the Phoenix going into quarter-time leading 16-14.
Things didn’t open up too much more early on in the second quarter but the JackJumpers did take the lead on the back of threes from Adams and Josh Magette.
Tasmania weren’t scoring too much aside from those triples with Adams, Magette and Kenyon knocking down another each before half-time.
As a team they went 8/16 for the half while the Phoenix went 0/8 but 14 points, five rebounds and five steals from Ryan Broekhoff kept them in touch with the JackJumpers up 40-38 at the break.
The Phoenix regained the lead to start the second half with Zhou Qi continued to take it to the rack with his size advantage. And-ones from Creek and Qi pushed the South East Melbourne lead out further before finally they connected from beyond the arc.
Both Izayah Le'afa and Reuben Te Rangi nailed threes and the Phoenix were up 59-52 by three quarter-time.
Adams tried to spark the JackJumpers to a comeback with a couple of jumpers and five free-throws early in the fourth term, and even a four-point play from Clint Steindl in game 250 kept things interesting, but the Phoenix wouldn’t be denied.
They wouldn’t let Tasmania get closer than four points in the fourth term and cruised to the eventual 12-point win.
Next up for the Phoenix is a Throwdown with Melbourne United on Thursday while the JackJumpers have a full week before taking on the Illawarra Hawks in Wollongong.
HUNGRY JACK'S NBL ROUND 11
SOUTH EAST MELBOURNE PHOENIX 83 (Broekhoff 18, Creek 15, Adnam 13)
TASMANIA JACKJUMPERS 71 (Adams 23, Magette 10, McVeigh 9)