Penney back in the groove

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Kirk Penney averaging 21pts a game for Illawarra this season

Kirk Penney may have missed the previous four games for the Illawarra Hawks due to a hamstring injury picked up against the Breakers last month but he certainly hasn’t lost his scoring touch. The Tall Blacks marksman scored 28 points as the Hawks secured a play-offs birth with a tense 104-97 overtime win against Townsville Crocodiles on Saturday. Penney missed with his opening range finder but was sublime thereafter caressing 10 from 16 shooting attempts including 5 from 9 triples.

Leon Henry was a little more subdued than his Kiwi counterpart contributing 4pts, 4 rebounds and a block to the spirited Crocs cause.

In other news from the Australian National Basketball League……

The Perth Wildcats versus Sydney Kings game got off to a surprising start in the first two minutes with the Kings opening up an 11-0 advantage.

That forced ‘Cats’ coach Trevor Gleeson to make an extremely unusual move and pull out his entire starting five replacing them with his back up crew that included Tall Blacks point guard Jarrod Kenny.

Perth’s second unit played out the rest of the first quarter and worked the home team back into the contest. They were within a point by quarter-time and continued to pull away the rest of the evening to eventually win 95-81.

Kenny, benefitting from extended court time produced an industrious 7pts/2rebs/3ast/2steals effort.

Fellow Tall Blacks guard Dion Prewster was largely anonymous for the Kings putting up just a single unsuccessful shot although he did manage a block and an assist.

Europe 

In the Eurocup CAI Zaragoza stayed in the fight to make it out of pool play by downing Turkish side Galatasaray Odeabank 85-68 at home in front of over 7,000 fans on Wednesday. Zaragoza, Galatasaray and Sassari (Italy) have a 3-2 record in Group N so it will all come down to next week’s games to decide which two teams progress to the last 16 knockout stage. Isaac Fotu was in fine form for the hosts scoring 14 points at a very efficient 6 from 7 shooting.

Zaragoza scored a major victory over FIATC Joventut in their struggle to move away from the lower reaches of the Spanish League on Sunday. A dominant 31-17 second quarter helped propel Zaragoza to a 94-83 success and improve their record to 6-13. Fotu was in double figures again with 10 points (4/7FG) along with 5 rebounds.

Duane Bailey only managed to convert one of six scoring attempts but he did amass 11 rebounds plus a pair of assists and a block as Plymouth Raiders beat Leeds Force 75-62. The win enabled the Raiders to jump over the Force into a play-off spot in the British Basketball League. Former Breakers player now Plymouth’s player coach Darryl Corletto led all scorers with 21 points.

In Belgium Rob Loe, recovering from knee ligament damage is targeting a return to the court in early March. His Limburg United team are tracking reasonably well in his absence sitting third on the Scooore League ladder with an 8-6 record.

American College 

Nebraska had a chance to tie in the final seconds against Number 4 ranked Maryland but the Huskers fell just short, 70-65 on Wednesday evening in front of a home crowd of 15,693.

Tai Webster made 6 from 7 free throws as he contributed 8 points, 5 rebounds and a game high 3 steals for Nebraska.

The Huskers broke a three game losing streak on Saturday comfortably beating Rutgers 87-63 to improve to 5-6 in Big Ten Conference play. Just 5 points, 2 rebounds and an assist for Webster in that one.

Jack Salt didn’t suit up for Virginia University as the Cavaliers beat Pitt 64-50 on Saturday. The Cavaliers, 8-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, have won six straight and its early

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