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R10 Report: Comeback Crocs shock Sixers in final seconds

Let it be heard, absolutely no margin is safe when the Townsville Crocodiles take to the hardwood. Clint Steindl stole an errant inbounds pass and Nick Kay threw down a breakaway dunk with two seconds remaining as the Crocs sent their faithful into delirium with a 101-100 win on Thursday night. Trailing by 15 points after a Daniel Johnson triple with 4:04 remaining the young and exuberant Crocs did what they do best, reeling in the deficit three-pointer by three-pointer and locking down the Sixers who made just one field goal the rest of the way. Steindl (15 points) and Mirko Djeric (12) championed the ultimate comeback with four triples, three of which coming from Djeric’s hand in the final two minutes. Lively point guard Mitch Norton got his teammates the ball when needed, posting two points, two assists and a steal in the 20-4 run over the final four minutes. “You’ve got to hand it to these guys because they keep proving they just won’t give up,” Crocs coach Shawn Dennis said post-game. “We looked down and out, gave up too much possession and fouled too much. “It’s just rewards for these kids… (the win) says we are doing the right things as a group. “Who knows, we've got a massive stretch of home games now so if we can make the most of that there’s no reason why we can’t start to compete and put ourselves in a position to make a late run. But there’s a long way to go.” While Adelaide turned it over three times in the four-minute stretch, they did not implode, rather spent too long trying to find Jerome Randle in the half court, who was contained well both on and off the ball down the stretch. Using his mind-bending quicks, court vision and ball-handling ability Randle had game-highs in points (28) and assists (seven) as he looked to have guided the visitors home, scoring or assisting five of Adelaide’s seven fourth-quarter field goals. But the home side gave debutant import Omar Samhan the ultimate welcome with arguably the greatest comeback of the NBL season. The American-Egyptian (10 points, six rebounds, two assists) showed a lot of craft and touch around the paint and looks to be a great compliment to the Crocs roster; but it was fellow import Jordair Jett top-scoring for Townsville with 21. With Adelaide leading 55-50 at half time, both sides enjoyed free points as the Sixers had made 30 free throws with a quarter remaining – more than any other team has registered in a game this year. Randle (21 points to three-quarter time) looked to have the game in the palm of his hand, tearing up the home side early in the term, but the flashy plays only added to the eventual Crocs comeback. “That last play was my fault, it should have been drawn up to get something a little better so our guys could have gotten the ball inbounds,” Sixers coach Joey Wright said. “Especially where our season’s at, we needed this win to try and continue to push for that fourth spot and we just let it slip away. “Some days you’re going to eat the bear, some days the bear is going to eat you.” Adelaide (now 7-9) will seek redemption when they host the Crocs (6-11) on Saturday. TOWNSVILLE CROCODILES 101 (Jett 21, Kay 19, Steindl 15) ADELAIDE 36ERS 100 (Randle 28, Johnson 21, Petrie 17) BOX SCORE
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