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Jamar making a name in Australia

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Wilson comes alive as Cairns hold off Townsville


October 08, 2011, 05:46 PM AEST


By: Murray Wenzel, Pagemasters















A second-half masterclass from Cairns Taipans’ import Jamar Wilson has given his new club the perfect start to the season against arch-rival Townsville.


The Taipans’ 81-76 victory had all the characteristics of a typical Reptile Rumble, and in a repeat of last season’s semi-final series Cairns took the spoils.


Wilson, a star in Europe last season, finished with 23 points in a dream debut that featured 19 in the last two quarters as the Snakes held off a gutsy Townsville effort.


Wilson confessed he came out a little too hyped after the intense build up and revealed coach Aaron Fearne had repeatedly told him to stay relaxed.


“But I came out like a bullet,” Wilson said, before adding the Taipans’ ‘Orange Army’ had got him going.


“I got out there, saw the orange and ran like a chicken with my head cut off.”


After trailing by as many as 13 in the final term, the Crocs drew level late in the game thanks to a huge three-pointer from their American point guard Eddie Gill.


Wilson responded with two from the free-throw line before Brad Hill grabbed a crucial rebound, feeding Wilson who sealed the win with a sweet drive and floating lay-up over two defenders to the delight of his new home crowd.


The Townsville defence was non-existent in the key in the first five minutes, allowing Dusty Rychart and Jeff Dowdell wide-open looks at the basket.


At half time scores were locked at 40-40, by no means a cricket score but an increase on the two teams' low-scoring clashes of last season.


Things heated up in the third quarter as Peter Crawford was warned for flopping and local product Kerry Williams hit a long three to blow the lead out to a game-high 12 points just before the final break.


From there Townsville charged home, Elvin Mims their star with 17 points, but Wilson and the Snakes did enough to register their first win.


Remarkably, Cairns hit all 19 of their free throws and despite missing their starting froncourt won the battle of the boards 38-28, Hill (11) and Rychart (14) dominant on the glass.


Coach Fearne was full of praise for Rychart’s old-school effort.


“He was sensational for us; that was the Dusty of old right there,” he said. “To not have them (Ian Crosswhite and Alex Loughton) out there, other guys had to step up and they did.”


Debutante Crocs’ coach Paul Woolpert said it was now about turning the tables on their home court next Friday.


“It’s redemption. We feel like we owe them and it’ll be a good thing to play them again in six days,” he said.


Cairns Taipans 81 (Wilson 23, Rychart 16, Hill 15)

Townsville Crocodiles 76 (Mims 17, Gill 13)


Crowd: 4,834 at the Cairns Convention Centre.

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