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R16 Report: Crocs' energy leads to Breakers thumping

Townsville Crocodiles’ brought the energy and kept their focus to thump New Zealand Breakers 89-66 at Townsville Entertainment Centre on Thursday night. Shooter Clint Steindl inspired his young side with 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting then spark plug import Omar Samhan impressed in the paint with 16 points and 12 rebounds as the Crocs beat the hapless Breakers by 23 points. Breakers forward Tai Wesley’s 13 points and 12 from Cedric Jackson led the visitors who couldn’t find the offensive execution nor the defensive toughness they have long been renowned for. Crocs coach Shawn Dennis said the win was a step towards the future for his emerging side. "We stuck to what we planned to do and our selflessness was terrific," Dennis said. "They’re a team who are hard to stop when they get on a roll but we stuck to it and hopefully we can understand that when we have that discipline we can beat the better teams and looking forward that needs to be our goal from here on in." Breakers coach Dean Vickerman said his side hadn’t matched the Crocs in any of the effort areas. "Tonight we came out with a soft mentality, they were super aggressive and it showed at half time when they get to the line 16 times and smash us by 10 on the boards," Vickerman said. "We didn’t go close to matching their intensity or intent in the way they played, that’s the most furious I’ve been at half time this season." The Crocs passion made all the difference in the opening term as their starters pushed and probed the Breakers across the court. Steindl’s 11 points and seven points from Samhan handed them a 29-11 lead late in the first term. A skyhook from Alex Pledger, creative layup from Corey Webster and a Cedric Jackson three-point play saw the visitors close the margin to 29-18 at quarter-time. Samhan continued his tough play in the post with his hot form extending to his temper after taking exception to a physical contest with Mika Vukona. Webster started to threaten and Wesley found some points in the second term as the Breakers looked to further cut into the lead but foul trouble and poor transition defence saw the Crocs out to a 50-34 lead at half-time. Steindl’s three to open the third term had the Crocs bouncing but Vukona set about attacking the boards as his club extended their defence and rattled the Crocs with Dennis calling time out and angrily telling his men to “do your job”. Samhan earned his fourth foul in a contest with Vukona and went to the bench but his side regained their composure as Steindl again connected on a long-ball to make the lead 20 points. That lead held strong with Leon Henry’s energetic play making sure the home side were up 69-48 at the final break. Cedric Jackson’s frustrations boiled over to start the last term and he picked up a technical foul but he also set up Charles Jackson for an alley-oop reverse dunk before his fifth foul was called ending his night. Samhan’s three-pointer and Jordair Jett’s funky reverse layup in the final minutes kicked off the celebrations while Nick Kay gave up a breakaway score in favour of development player Tom Howard who won’t forget his two-handed dunk on home court. The Breakers visit Cairns Taipans on Saturday night while the Crocs host Sydney Kings in Townsville on Wednesday night. TOWNSVILLE CROCODILES 89 (Steindl 23, Samhan 16, Norton 14) NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS 66 (Wesley 13, Cedric Jackson 12, Webster 11) BOX SCORE
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