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Crocs celebrate PC and edge closer

By Chris Pike
3 February 2013 01:11AM EST

TOWNSVILLE continued its charge towards an unlikely NBL playoff appearance with a 90-78 win over the Sydney Kings on Saturday night that saw the Crocs celebrate Peter Crawford playing a club record 259th match.

The Crocodiles beat the Kings by 12 points to improve to a 7-12 record on the season with nine games remaining. While that might not look impressive, considering Townsville lost its first 10 games to now have won seven of nine it has it right in the mix to play finals basketball.

While New Zealand (18-3) and Perth (13-5) are secure in first and second, Sydney is still third on 10-11 but after Saturday night has now lost five straight games and Wollongong is fourth on 9-10 having lost seven of the last eight, so the door remains firmly ajar for the Crocs if they are good enough.

Sydney started the game strongly looking to break its losing skid and still led 45-42 at half-time, but couldn’t keep the hot shooting from the likes of James Harvey and Aaron Bruce going in the second half as the Crocs worked their way on top.

Townsville dominated the second half to outscore the Kings 48-33 to come away convincing winners in front of their home fans.

It was a good, even team performance as well with Michael Cedar top-scoring with 18 points to go with eight rebounds. Crawford added 17 points, Gary Ervin 15, Luke Nevill 14 and Todd Blanchfield 13.

Veteran sharpshooter Harvey, in just his second game back from a broken arm, top-scored for the Kings with 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field. Centre Ian Crosswhite added 13 points, Corin Henry 12 and Ben Madgen 12, but he shot just 5-of-16 from the field.

While the win was important for Townsville's finals hopes, it also celebrated Olympian Crawford passing Crocs legend Robert Rose's previous club mark of 258 matches.

The guard is now the all-time Crocs games record holder and given he grew up in Townsville dreaming of one day playing for the local team, it is an achievement he is tremendously proud of to add to a last 12 months that also saw him represent Australia in London.

"The main thing was making sure we got the win and there's nothing better than having a memory with a win. This is a big win for us. We don’t have much wriggle room before now and the end of the season to make the playoffs," Crawford said.

"They are all big games for us now, but this is a great memory that I will always have. It means a lot to me. I just started playing basketball because it was fun, I didn’t think it would take me to where it has and the last 12 months has been pretty big.

"My favourite memory is this – sitting in front of the crowd right now with the crowd enjoying themselves so much. I feel like I have grown up on this court. I started as a water boy, doing the car park and now I've played 259 games. I'm just lucky I guess."

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