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Tigers, Taipans, 36ers win on NYE

By Chris Pike
31 December 2013 11:24PM EST

THERE were knockouts, injuries, a double-overtime thriller and two tight clashes in North Queensland for the visiting top-two teams as the NBL celebrated New Year's Eve.

There were three NBL matches on New Year's Eve beginning with the Melbourne Tigers winning a fourth straight game beating the Wollongong Hawks 91-81 in double-overtime at the WIN Entertainment Centre. 

The action then headed up to Tropical North Queensland starting at the Cairns Convention Centre when the Cairns Taipans became just the second team this season to beat the Perth Wildcats, running out 99-90 winners with both sides suffering an injury to a star player in the process.

The night's final game then took place at The Swamp with both the Townsville Crocodiles and Adelaide 36ers going into the clash without their star import, but it was still a tight contest before the second-placed Sixers finished strongly down the stretch to prevail 90-89.

In Wollongong, the Tigers ended up beating the Hawks for the second time in four days but it took two overtime periods for them to end getting the advantage and win by 10 points.

After the scores were tied at the end of regulation, Mark Worthington came out hot for the Tigers in the first overtime with eight quick points but the Hawks weren’t to be denied and some incredible three-point shooting from import guard Rotnei Clarke sent the game into a second overtime.

However, in the second overtime period it was all Melbourne with some costly turnovers letting down Wollongong in the stretch as the Tigers took advantage to run out 10-point winners.

The win consolidates the Tigers in third spot on the NBL ladder with an 8-6 record having now won four straight matches while the Hawks slip to 4-9 now with the loss to remain in bottom place.

New import Mustapha Farrakhan top-scored for Melbourne with 23 points to go with six rebounds and three assists on the back of shooting 10-of-16 from the field.

The league's leading-scorer Chris Goulding might have started the game slowly, but still ended up with 22 points, five rebounds and three assists.

Centre Scott Morrison added 13 points, nine rebounds and three blocks for the Tigers with Worthington adding 11 points, 10 rebounds and three steals.

Clarke put in an incredible shooting display for the Hawks in the losing performance finishing with 37 points while going 9-of-10 from three-point range, and 13-of-19 overall from the field.

However, Clarke was the only Wollongong player to score in double-figures with captain Oscar Forman the next best with eight points and seven rebounds.

Kevin Tiggs added eight points, eight rebounds and four assists while Larry Davidson finished with seven rebounds and 10 boards, and Tim Coenraad six points and four rebounds.

It was then an action packed night in Cairns with the Taipans ending up prevailing over the Wildcats by nine points to give Perth just its second loss of the season.

The Wildcats still remain comfortable atop of the NBL ladder with a 12-2 record but it was a big win for the Taipans lifting them to a 5-8 record to be on the verge of breaking into the top-four at the expense of the 5-7 Sydney Kings.

Cairns worked its way on top of the game midway through the third quarter coinciding with Perth big man Matt Knight departing the contest.

Knight was knocked out cold by an accidental elbow from Cairns import Demetri McCamey as he attempted a lay-up.

The Wildcats star big man had been having a brilliant night with 21 points and five rebounds as the dominant player on the court, but after copping the elbow he was unconscious for some time and taken from the arena on a stretcher, and later to hospital where he was diagnosed with a concussion.

Just minutes after Knight was stretchered out, Cairns power forward Cam Tragardh's night also ended when he rolled his ankle landing on the foot of Perth captain Damian Martin. Tragardh had already nine points and three rebounds on the night also.

With Knight out of the game, though, the Wildcats could not get anything working the rest of the game with several players in foul trouble most notably James Ennis and Shawn Redhage.

Cairns dominated the rest of the contest for the last quarter and-a-half to record its most impressive win of the season.

McCamey was the star of the night for the Snakes finishing with 22 points on the back of shooting 8-of-12 from the field and 6-of-9 from three-point range.

Alex Loughton also contributed 17 points and four rebounds with Stephen Weigh finishing with 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor.

Point guard Jamar Wilson added 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting as well.

As well as Knight's 21 points and five boards, Ennis finished with 21 points and seven boards for the Wildcats with Martin adding 12 points, five rebounds and three assists, and Jesse Wagstaff 14 points and Jermaine Beal 10 while shooting just 2-of-10.

Townsville then lost its third straight game to slip to a 4-8 record while Adelaide won again to improve to a 10-4 record to remain just two matches behind the Wildcats.

After a tight first three quarters, Townsville worked its way on top of the game during the final period and led 81-72 with just under five minutes remaining.

However, from there Adam Gibson and Jason Cadee nailed big threes for Adelaide before Cadee then nailed another to stretch the Sixers' lead while Daniel Johnson nailed crucial free-throws to ice the victory.

Adelaide came into the game without star import point guard Gary Ervin who has been averaging 17.4 points, 4.7 assists and 3.6 rebounds a game but in his absence Gibson and Cadee both came up big.

Cadee finished the night with 18 points, six rebounds and six assists and Gibson added 14 points, five assists and four rebounds.

Big man Johnson also contributed 20 points and nine rebounds for the Sixers with Anthony Petrie adding 12 points and eight rebounds, and Jarrid Frye 10 points.

Townsville was also without its star swingman import Josh Pace who has been averaging 15.6 and 5.3 rebounds a game this season.

In his absence, fellow import Brian Conklin did all he could with 20 points and five rebounds with Peter Crawford adding 19 points and five boards.

Todd Blanchfield also scored 17 points and six rebounds, Mitch Norton 12 points and five assists, and Steve Markovic 11 points and 11 assists.


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