It started slowly but finished a thriller in Cairns as the Taipans snapped a three-game NBL losing streak to defeat the Adelaide 36ers 79-75.
Missing Alex Loughton and Ian Crosswhite, the Taipans snuck home on the back of clutch free-throw shooting of Jamar Wilson (17 points) and some big plays from swingman Aaron Grabau (13 points, 75 per cent three-point shooting, seven rebounds, three assists).
The 36ers received great service from power forward Diamon Simpson, who had 20 points and 16 rebounds.
Adelaide had a chance to win it, but down by one point with 18.5 seconds on the clock Daniel Johnson had the ball ripped from his hands by Dusty Rychart.
Wilson then marched to the other end and slotted two free throws before a Johnson basket put the margin back to one point.
Wilson was again sent to the line, his second shot missing but Rychart swooping to clean up and ensure the Taipans finished the season with a win.
Missing its key bigs, Cairns was always going to struggle against the size of Adelaide, and from the tip-off the 36ers used that advantage to keep the hosts scoreless for the first four minutes.
But at separate times Brad Hill, Drew Warren and Jamar Wilson took over to keep them in the game.
First it was Hill driving to the basket, then it was Warren re-dialling his radar and then Wilson providing the hustle Cairns has become accustomed to.
All the while 36ers' point guard Chris Warren, Darren Ng and Stephen Weigh were shooting truly while Simpson controlled the interior in a dour first half.
The Taipans surged into the lead in the third but couldn't gain the ascendancy in the final quarter thanks to some big triples from Chris Warren.
Despite Adelaide's best efforts late the Taipans' composure was enough to deliver victory.
AAPTags: nbl, basketball, sport, cairns-4870, qld, adelaide-5000, sa, australia First posted March 23, 2012 23:36:11