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R19 Report: Crocs bite Snakes to claim Reptile Rumble

The Townsville Crocodiles have continued their strong second half of the season having too much desperation for the Cairns Taipans to run out 85-68 winners at Townsville Entertainment Centre on Thursday night. The 17-point win is the Crocs' third successive at The Swamp and also sees them claim the Reptile Rumble series over their North Queensland rivals with a superior points differential with both teams having won both at home during the season. The Crocodiles led the entire game on Thursday aside from a 30 second period just before half-time when the Snakes were up 38-37 after a Mark Worthington jumper. The home team dominated the second half beginning with the opening seven points. Another 7-0 run in the third quarter and then a long-range three on the buzzer from Mirko Djeric saw the Crocs open a 14-point advantage. Two early threes to start the fourth from Leon Henry took the Crocodiles as far as 22 points combined with two put-ins from Mitch Young before a couple of Cameron Gliddon threes for Cairns at least avoided a 20-point defeat. The Crocs are heading into the off-season with momentum while the Taipans' season is now over with a 12-16 record and without a Finals appearance after calming the minor premiership and making the Grand Final a year ago. The Crocodiles were more desperate and that was reflected in the 36-21 rebound count. The Taipans' big men had no answers for Omar Samhan (14 points, eight rebounds) and Nick Kay (12 points, nine boards) who were outstanding for the Crocs. Clint Steindl nailed 3-of-5 from three-point range for 13 points for Townsville. Jordair Jett scored another 13 points, Young eight (six rebounds), Luke Schenscher eight, Corey Maynard six (four assists) and Henry six. That number of contributors was a major factor in the Crocs' win. Crocs coach Shawn Dennis was delighted to see his group learn from the costly late fadeout against the Illawarra Hawks on Saturday. "It's more excitement the feeling after that because our goal tonight was to finish what we didn’t finish in Wollongong last week in terms of playing the right way the whole game," Dennis said. "When your team plays together you are hard to beat and tonight we did that exceptionally well. It's exciting to see us put a near perfect game together. When you can sit back and evaluate like that and only find a couple of things to really look at, that's exciting from a coaching point of view." Gliddon did all he could for the Snakes with 16 points with Stephen Weigh adding 14 and Worthington 13, but imports Markel Starks and Torrey Craig only combined for seven points. Taipans coach Aaron Fearne was disappointed but not overly surprised that his team's season finished with yet another road loss. They won just one road game in 14 attempts. "It's not like I haven’t seen it before with this group on the road and that's the disappointing thing without that resilience and toughness, and tightness when you're on the road," Fearne said. "It is just us at the end of the day and you don’t have your home town fans to spur you along because we've obviously been very, very good at home. But on the road we've been a league worst and haven’t been very competitive in a lot of road games. Tonight was no different." The Crocs finish their season looking for a fourth straight home win and another series victory over the Sydney Kings on Saturday night, but 2015/16 is all over for the Snakes. TOWNSVILLE CROCODILES 85 (Samhan 14, Steindl 13, Jett 13) CAIRNS TAIPANS 68 (Gliddon 16, Weigh 14, Worthington 13) BOX SCORE
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