The headline act amongst the Tall Blacks overseas this week has to belong to Kirk Penney. The former Breakers shooting guard, who still holds the club’s all time scoring record, scored 36 points for the Illawarra Hawks as they beat the defending champions 96-75 on Wednesday. He shot a perfect 9 from 9 free throws to back up 10 from 24 from the field (7/12 3PG), repeatedly knocking down open shots, to sink his former team.
Also on Wednesday Isaac Fotu took to the court in his first Eurocup game when Zaragoza entertained 10 times Belgium champions Spirou Charlerol. Zaragoza emerged comfortable 80-70 winners, Fotu contributing 7pts/3rebs/1assist/1steal.
The Eurocup has 6 groups of 6 teams with each team playing 10 midweek home and away ties between now and mid December. Zaragoza needs to finish in the top 4 in their group (Group C) to progress to the second stage of the competition.
Zaragoza was at home again at the weekend in Liga Endesa, the top Spanish League, against UCAM Murcia recording an 84-64 victory. Fotu had a quiet night scoring just three points (1/5FG) to add to 4 rebounds and 4 assists. A statistical highlight from the game was that Zaragoza converted all 26 free throws awarded to them.
It wasn’t a great weekend for BJ Anthony and the Plymouth Raiders as they slipped to an 88-77 home loss against West Country opponents Bristol Flyers in the British Basketball League Cup.
Anthony put up some useful numbers (13p/5r/1a/1b/1st) but they could have been so much better when you consider the power forward fouled out in 19 minutes! Recent signing Richie Edwards was trigger-happy requiring 15 shots in scoring 14 points (4/15GF).
Limburg United moved their record to 2-1 with a very comfortable 110-78 victory against Leuven Bears in the Belgium League. Limburg coach Brian Lynch was able to rotate his front line players, including Rob Loe, giving eight players around 20 minutes playing time each. After last week’s 18 points haul Loe contributed a relatively sedate 4p/3r/3a/1b/1st in United’s second straight win.
Back in the Australian NBL Jarrod Kenny inflicted further pain on the Breakers as the Perth Wildcats defeated the North Shore club 83-80. The Tall Blacks point guard didn’t quite have the impact Penney had 48 hours previously but his corner three with 36 seconds to play, to put the Wildcats four points ahead, was enough to see off the visitors. Kenny scored 8 points and also added 2 rebounds and 3 assists.
Townsville Crocodiles were in Sydney on Thursday – Wellington Saints and Tall Blacks teammates Leon Henry and Dion Prewster going head to head.
Prewster made two critical free throws with 36 seconds remaining to edge Sydney Kings ahead of the Crocodiles, 77-76. The clutch freebies looked as if they would give the Kings the win but a Corey Maynard three with 17 seconds remaining and a Conklin free throw stole the win for the Crocodiles; 80-77.
Prewster ended with 7 points (2/3FG & 3/3F) as the Kings were run down 23-19 in the final quarter after holding a 10 points advantage at the end of the third period. Henry had 4 points and 3 rebounds for the Crocs.
Townsville and Sydney both came unstuck in the final two games of the round on Saturday. The Crocodiles playing their third road game in seven days ran out of steam in the fourth quarter in the ‘Reptile Rumble’ going down 80-74 to the Cairns Taipans after leading at three quarter time. Henry scored 6 points, all coming in the third period.
Sydney lost their second game of the round and Illawarra Hawks won their second game of the round – Hawks winning the New South Wales derby 100-86. Kirk Penney was less dominant than he was against the Breakers but still managed 16 points (5/11FG) for the Hawks and Dion Prewster chipped in with 5pts/4rebs for the Kings.