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Henry, Nevill set up NBL victories

By Chris Pike
9 December 2012 01:40AM EST

CORIN Henry and Luke Nevill had big nights in the NBL as the smallest and biggest men in the league, and both led their respective teams to Saturday night victories.

Sydney point guard Henry was brilliant as he led the Kings to a 75-62 victory over the New Zealand Breakers as NBL basketball returned to the Olympic Sports Centre, while Townsville big man Nevill helped the Crocodiles to a second straight win with a 85-84 thrilling triumph over the Melbourne Tigers at the Townsville Entertainment Centre.

The Kings remained in the top-four with the 13-point victory over the two-time defending champion Breakers, and the victory could well have been by 20-plus points if it hadn’t been for some garbage time baskets from New Zealand.

Sydney got off to a blistering start to race out to a double-figure lead in the opening minutes of the game. The Kings still led 24-11 by quarter-time and 39-31 at half-time, but the Breakers were always going to mount a comeback.

Some hot shotting from CJ Bruton helped New Zealand close in on the Kings during the third quarter, but thanks to Henry and a dominant big man display from Ian Crosswhite, Sydney proved too strong.

The win improves the Kings to an 8-5 record on the season to maintain fourth position on the ladder while New Zealand remains on top at 8-3 despite two heavy road losses to Perth and Sydney now in between a 30-point thumping of Melbourne at home.

Henry took on the league's best point guard Cedric Jackson and had the better of that battle all night to finish the game with 29 points, five rebounds and three assists.

He nailed 5-of-9 from three-point territory, including some dagger shots to seal the win, but after the game he was just focused on what the win meant to the Kings as a team.

"It feels good. I just wanted to get the win, though, that's all that matters to me in the end," Henry said.

"We knew that coming into the game it was going to be about rebounds. Whoever could get the most rebounds was going to come out with the win, and that's how it turned out.

"We know that this is a big win because it's like a double game after we lost to them the first time, so it's definitely a big win for us."

Crosswhite was also outstanding for the Kings with 12 points and 11 rebounds while Ben Madgen shrugged off a sore shoulder to score another 13 points in Sydney's win.

Bruton top-scored for the Breakers with 18 points and he nailed four triples for the night. Corey Webster added 11 points and Jackson nine to go with eight rebounds and four assists in the loss for the Breakers.

Then in Townsville, the Crocs made it two straight wins after starting the season disastrously with 10 losses, but it took a thrilling contest with the Tigers for them to do so.

Melbourne, led by well-credentialed NBA point guard Jonny Flynn, looked in control of the contest for much of the night at The Swamp, but the Crocs caught fire late in the piece and held on for the one-point victory.

In the end, it came down to point guard's Flynn and Gary Ervin, and Ervin was able to create a turnover to stop Flynn or the Tigers even getting the chance to put up a buzzer-beating shot to try and win the game.

The Crocs remain on the bottom of the NBL ladder at 2-10, but the Tigers aren’t far ahead at 2-8 having now lost four straight games.

It is no coincidence that Townsville has now won both games since adding the 7'2 former Wildcat Nevill into the line-up.

Nevill is fresh off a stint in the NBA with the Indiana Pacers, and was a dominant presence inside against the Tigers with 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting to go with seven rebounds, three assists and two blocks.

Former NBL MVP Ervin was also superb for the Crocs with 26 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals to have the better of his battle with Flynn. He hit four threes for the night as well, but didn’t want to get caught up with his battle with Flynn.

"We have been having a tough season and we've been close in a lot of games, but just falling short. We know we can be a great team and it's time to show it," Ervin said.

"I don't go into personal match-ups like that. The Townsville Crocs won by one and he played a great game, but it just came down to one stop and we got that. I'm just happy that we got this win."

It was a tough loss for the Tigers to take with Chris Goulding top-scoring with 25 points, eight boards and three assists. Flynn had 18 points and eight assists with Seth Scott also adding 12 points and seven boards.

Round 10 of the NBL now concludes on Sunday with the Adelaide 36ers taking on the Perth Wildcats at the Adelaide Arena.

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