Creek, Adnam key in Phoenix NBL victory

Fraser Barton |

South East Melbourne have responded to their blowout loss to Brisbane in round seven with a resounding 88-73 thumping of the Bullets  at Nissan Arena.

Limited to their lowest scoring single quarter total in their last matchup, the Phoenix (6-2) came out all guns blazing, powering to a 50-39 halftime lead.

Mitch Creek could not be stopped in the opening stanza with 20 points on 8-9 shooting, before his team took over in the second half, shutting out any semblance of a Bullets (4-6) comeback.

Leading 71-56 late in the third quarter, the energy was briefly back in the arena when the Bullets went on a run behind Nathan Sobey and Jason Cadee, but the deficit only got to four as the Phoenix soared on to win their fourth straight game.

Creek had 22 points, five rebounds and three assists in his 37 minutes while Kyle Adnam kept the score ticking with his 16 points off the bench on 50 per cent shooting.

Adnam’s active hands helped the visitors to 25 points off tunovers on a night where over half their points came in the painted area.

“Tonight, despite the fact we didn’t shoot particularly well from the perimeter, we went inside, we were pretty efficient from inside the three point arc,” Phoenix coach Simon Mitchell said.

“And I thought that we defended loose balls and shots, and Brisbane coming down with pace really, really well.

“That’s what we want to pride ourselves on. That’s what we want to be known as.

“And the sweet shooting that can come with this group will just be the the icing on the cake.

“We’ve strung three good defensive efforts together, we’ve built on each game, and I feel like that it’s coming together.

“We’ve got a long way to go though.”

For the hosts, turnovers were again Brisbane’s downfall costing them dearly and leading to a loss of ryhthm in offence when it mattered most.

Two of their three stars in Sobey and Robert Franks being kept to single digits didn’t help, as the former finished with nine points while Franks didn’t hit a single field goal from his seven attempts, finishing with two points coming from the free throw line.

Lamar Patterson led all scorers with 26 points on an efficient night by the big forward, with coach James Duncan saying his players need to continue to stick to their guns as the season unfolds.

“Heading into the next week, it’s the same message,” he said.

“It’s just a matter of having the guys continue to buy in and just understand that it’s hard to win – we all want to win, we all want to try to get to the playoffs, but it’s going to take more.

“That’s the message that myself and the coaching staff are talking to the players about.”