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R10 Report: Sixers get revenge on Crocs in dour affair

[ooyala code="M5aWRoeTr3W8WTsI9a_M1TAQ1GGB2JtO" player_id="d5b993422b3e4b5ebd61f9e19ca2a6a5" width="1920" height="1080" auto="true"] It wasn’t one for the purists, but the Adelaide 36ers held on for a pressure-relieving 76-66 victory over the never-say-die Townsville Crocodiles in a dour battle on Saturday night. After coughing up a 15-point fourth-quarter lead and losing to the Crocs in the finals seconds of Thursday night’s clash in Townsville, the 36ers came through in crunch time at Titanium Security Arena to take a 2-1 lead in their head to head meetings, with their last meeting in Townsville in Round 15. Sixers superstar Jerome ‘The Handle’ Randle scored a game-high 19 points and centre Daniel Johnson (10) was the only other Adelaide player in double figures.

“We got down and played some defence and made them take some tough shots," 36ers coach Joey Wright said.

“I don’t care what we score, as long as it’s more than them."

Jordair Jett led the visitors with 15, while new import Omar Samhan and Corey Maynard combined for 21 off the bench. Adelaide hit just 40 per cent of their field goals, including 5/20 from downtown. The Crocs managed just 37 per cent and misfired on 17 of their 21 three-point attempts. Defence dominated offence at both ends, as both teams finished with a collective 32 turnovers. Athletic Adelaide guard Nathan Sobey (eight points, four rebounds), who hit the highlight reel on more than one occasion, believes an ugly win was just what his team needed after three straight losses. “We had a tough loss in Townsville and to come back two days later and put on this defensive effort is what we’ve been trying to do all year,” Sobey said post-game. “We’re sort of getting there and hopefully moving forward we’ll have more games like this.” Randle’s notoriously quick handles didn’t just cause problems for the Crocs in the opening quarter. Teammate Mitch Creek failed to swallow a sizzling dish from Randle after he split the high double-team with an exquisite round-the-back move.. An energised Crocs sensed an opening, outscoring the home team 13-1 over the final four minutes for a 21-14 quarter-time lead. Anxiety in the stands rose when the margin swelled to 11 but the Sixers re-awoke, intensifying the defensive pressure and peeling off a momentum-changing 20-4 run. Randle found a cutting Adam Gibson along the baseline for a buzzer-beating layup to make it 41-36 at half time. Sobey’s gravity-defying alley-oop was the only real highlight of an otherwise bleak third period, but the play was waved off after Lucas Walker was called for an offensive foul in creating space under the rim. Adelaide stretched the margin to nine, only to see the tenacious Crocs hit back again to trail 56-51 at three-quarter time. The Sixers this time stood toe to toe with the Crocs in the fourth quarter, securing their eighth win from 17 games.

“We can’t put a team on the line 30 plus times and foul two to one. That’s the difference in the game right there,” Crocs coach Shawn Dennis said.

“We stick our hands in too much and don’t move our feet, and it’s something we have to get better at.

“You can’t fault our team’s effort but we have to stop putting the opposition on the free throw line so much.”

Adelaide (now 8-9) has no game scheduled in Round 11 and will be back in action when they host Melbourne United on December 23. Townsville slipped to 6-12 and host top-ranked Perth next Saturday.   ADELAIDE 36ERS 76 (Randle 19, Johnson 10, Hodgson 9) TOWNSVILLE CROCODILES 66 (Jett 15, Samhan 11, Maynard 10) BOX SCORE
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