The Perth Wildcats have smashed the Cairns Taipans 85-66 to make it 10 wins and four losses at the half-way point of the iiNet NBL Championship season.
The game marked big man Matthew Knight's (204-F/C-85, college: Loyola Mary) return to the Wildcats line-up after spending five games on the sideline with a calf tear, and he didn't disappoint on return, scoring 13 points and pulling down seven rebounds.
The Wildcats start to the game went a long way to them securing the W', opening proceedings with a 10-0 run, and preventing the Taipans from scoring until half-way through the opening term.
Kevin Lisch was unstoppable for the Wildcats, playing one of his best games of the 2012/13 campaign, scoring a season high 26 points, as well as pulling down four rebounds, giving off two assists and picking up two steals. Jesse Wagstaff once again made a solid contribution with 15 points.
Despite the Wildcats fast start to the game, a few missed open looks allowed the Taipans to keep in touch and by the time the quarter came to an end the Wildcats only held a 16-9 advantage.
The tempo picked up in the second quarter as the game looked like it would turn into a three-point shoot-out with Kevin Lisch and Jesse Wagstaff knocking shots down from long range for the Wildcats.
The Taipans appeared to have enough answers to keep in touch with the Wildcats but the away team managed to get a small break on their opponents when Matt Knight reminded Cairns he was back with six straight points in the paint.
Kevin Lisch also showed why he is the league's reigning MVP in the first half, running rings around the Taipans and scoring 15 early points.
The Wildcats scored 33 points in second term, making it their highest scoring quarter so far this season, beating last week's 29-point first quarter effort against Sydney, and at the main break had a 49-37 lead.
The third quarter saw an even contest between the two-sides but the Wildcats did enough to keep their opponents at bay.
Scoring was coming from Redhage, Hire and Lisch, while Cam Tovey knocked down a three to reach the individual milestone of scoring 500 career points as a Perth Wildcat. The Cats 23-point quarter their equal highest third term for the season.
As the clock counted down, the game was well and truly in the Wildcats' grasp and the lead only continued to grow. The final margin a big 19-point win for Perth.
Wildcats star Kevin Lisch put on a clinic and was thrilled to see his team play so well.
'Cairns is always tough, at their place, I don't care what the record says, so it's a good win for us,' said Lisch.
'I think we are doing a better job at spacing and moving the ball, but at the same time in the second quarter we let them get too many baskets, but it was a good one.'
The MVP enjoyed having Knight back in the paint.
'He makes a big difference, it was good to see him back, I think he had jelly legs missing the one dunk, but it's great to have him back!'
Important for the Wildcats was once again their statistics on the glass, with 18 of their 39 rebounds pulled down on the offensive end.
Their defensive pressure was too much for the Taipans, causing 24 turnovers which led to 26 points, while only allowing Cairns to score seven from their own turnovers.
The Brisbane Bullets have released Jermaine Beal (191-G-87, college: Vanderbilt) from his contract with the club ahead of today's game against Melbourne United. Bullets Head Coach Andrej Lemanis said he did not make the decision to release Beal lightly, but felt it was in the best interests of the team, both in terms of winning games this season and building for the future. "We have not been able to get the best out of Jermaine, and he has not been contributing to the level that he want... [read more]
Bullets Head Coach Andrej Lemanis said he did not make the decision to release Beal lightly, but felt it was in the best interests of the team, both in terms of winning games this season and building for the future.
"We have not been able to get the best out of Jermaine, and he has not been contributing to the level that he wants to and it has become frustrating for both parties," Lemanis said.
"We have decided that it is best for the team to let Jermaine leave and to focus on the rest of the group for the remainder of the season,
"We believe this decision gives us the best opportunity to continue to compete and win games this season.
"We are also building a long-term program here and believe this is also in the best interests of continuing to develop our team and club culture," he said.
In 23 games for Brisbane (9-14, 8th), Beal averaged 11.2 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.
Taipans sign Tony Mitchell, ex Hapoel Eilat - 1 day ago
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Cairns Taipans (NBL) signed 28-year old American small forward Tony Mitchell (198-98kg-89, college: Alabama). He started the season at Hapoel Eilat in Israeli Winner League. In 5 games he had 8.8ppg, 4.8rpg and 1.4spg this season. The last summer Mitchell played at Hebei Xianglan in NBL where in 27 games he was the best scorer with impressive 42.9ppg and averaged 10.9rpg, 4.6apg (top 5), 2.5spg (in top 5) and 2.2bpg. Mitchell helped them to make it to the semifinals. A very impressive sea... [read more]
Cairns Taipans (NBL) signed 28-year old American small forward Tony Mitchell (198-98kg-89, college: Alabama). He started the season at Hapoel Eilat in Israeli Winner League. In 5 games he had 8.8ppg, 4.8rpg and 1.4spg this season. The last summer Mitchell played at Hebei Xianglan in NBL where in 27 games he was the best scorer with impressive 42.9ppg and averaged 10.9rpg, 4.6apg (top 5), 2.5spg (in top 5) and 2.2bpg. Mitchell helped them to make it to the semifinals. A very impressive season as he was named to Asia-Basket.com All-Chinese NBL 2nd Team. He has tried to make it to the NBA and played in the NBA Pro Summer League in 2015. Mitchell won D-League championship title in 2014. He is quite experienced player. Mitchell has played in seven different countries on three different continents (Europe, Asia and of course North America). He has played previously professionally in Italy (Banco di Srd and Dolomiti Energia Trento), Philippines (TNT Ka Tropa), Russia (Krasny Oktyabr), Spain (Movil Estudiantes), NBA (Milwaukee Bucks and Sacramento Kings), China (Jilin Tigers) and D-League (Fort Wayne Mad Ants). Mitchell attended University of Alabama until 2012 and it is his fifth season as a professional player. He could be described:
A very good scorer, with great athletic abilities and all-around playing skills. He can easily beat his man and create for his own and teammates.
TheGold Coast Rollers have kicked off a recruiting drive that has netted them current Brisbane Bullets NBL star Torrey Craig (198-F-90, college: USC Upstate). Gold Coast City Regional Basketball Association general manager Joel McInnes has described American Craig as "definitely the biggest signing by the Rollers in the club's state league history". Craig will switch to the Rollers for this year's Queensland Basketball League season that starts in April when his Bullets commitments are... [read more]
Gold Coast City Regional Basketball Association general manager Joel McInnes has described American Craig as "definitely the biggest signing by the Rollers in the club's state league history".
Craig will switch to the Rollers for this year's Queensland Basketball League season that starts in April when his Bullets commitments are finished.
"He is a solid import and currently heads rebound statistics for the NBL," McInnes said.
Craig is a 26-year-old who hails from the USC Upstate Spartans in South Carolina.
At 198cm and 98kg, Craig is a swingman who played for the Cairns Taipans (NBL) for two seasons, then for Wellington Saints in the New Zealand domestic league in 2015 when he won that competition's most valuable player award.
The NZ NBL and the QBL are played during the NBL's offseason.
The Rollers, who have struggled in the QBL for a number of years, are on the verge of bigger things with a second American, currently playing NBL, in their sights.
And the Rollers have had a significant off-court win with well-known Gold Coast entertainment promoter Billy Cross coming on board.
Cross will be a backer of sorts but his main focus will be on getting sponsors on board.
"I like the idea of setting up pathways for our juniors because basketball is a fast-growing sport through the schools," Cross said.
Cross has two sons - Josh and Nick - who have taken to basketball.
It is understood the Rollers will announce a new naming-rights sponsor early next week.
But in a blow to the club, it has been confirmed that women's coach Megan Thompson has accepted a teaching-basketball opportunity in Perth.
Thompson had been with the Rollers for two seasons and last year took the side to the playoffs.
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