Peter Crawford and Gary Ervin delivered Townsville an incredible 111-108 double-overtime win over the Cairns Taipans in Townsville to keep the Crocs’ playoff hopes alive.
Crawford and Ervin combined for 30 points after three-quarter-time, engaging in a thrilling shoot-out with Cairns superstar Jamar Wilson, who scored 18 of his 23 points in the final 14 minutes of the game.
In a game with too many highlights to mention, including a remarkable up-and-under dunk by Taipans import Shane Edwards that had seemingly given the visitors victory in the first overtime, the combination of Townsville’s dual stars eventually wore down the fatiguing Wilson.
Crawford finished with 30 points, seven rebounds and five assists, Ervin 28 points and six assists, and Luke Nevill added 17 points and eight rebounds.
Wilson added seven assists and six rebounds to his scoring bounty, Cam Gliddon produced 16 and nine rebounds, while Edwards notched up 17 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.
Crawford started quickly with a jumper and assist for Townsville, but it was his counterpart Gliddon who stamped his authority on the first quarter.
The rookie nailed three triples and finished off a deft Cam Tragardh backdoor pass on his way to 13 points for the term.
And though Ervin gave the Taipans some trouble in transition, when Clint Steindl hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer the visitors led 23-21 at quarter-time.
Loughton picked up where Gliddon left off in the second, swishing consecutive long bombs to pull Cairns clear, and when Tragardh and Aaron Grabau both made tough finishes over Nevill the Taipans led by 13.
The Crocs fought back through Michael Cedar, but a buzzing-beating triple from Edwards ensured a 44-36 advantage for visitors at the main break.
The three-point shooting of Crawford and Todd Blanchfield came to the fore in the third term, pulling Townsville within two late in the period.
But Cairns always seemed to have the answers, and when the Crocs again pulled within a basket early in the final term Steindl nailed two enormous triples to restore a nine-point buffer.
The Crocs chipped away, Crawford repeatedly attacking the basket and Ervin lightning on the fast-break as Townsville drew level with 3min 30sec remaining.
Blanchfield (15 points, 8 rebounds) also stood tall with some big plays down the stretch, while Wilson was making sure the Taipans stayed alive with some athletic help from Edwards, but ultimately weight of numbers delivered Townsville a famous victory.
“That’s a big win for us, the season was on the line … a classic game for a Reptile Rumble,” Crawford said.
“They're all tough games from here, we go into Perth on Friday. We don’t have much room, but that win goes a long way to assuring everyone on our team that we can get it done.”
Townsville Crocodiles 111 (Crawford 30, Ervin 28, Nevill 17)
Cairns Taipans 108 (Wilson 23, Edwards 17, Gliddon 16)
Crowd: 4329 at Townsville Entertainment Centre