NBL newcomers Tasmania JackJumpers are riding high on a three-game winning streak after upsetting the Sydney Kings 77-70 at Hobart’s MyState Bank Arena.
Both teams entered Friday night’s clash having won their past two matches but the JackJumpers capitalised on a rough offensive night from the Kings to move one spot above them into fifth on the league ladder with a 5-6 record.
The home side found themselves in a nine-point hole after one quarter but blitzed the Kings 29-14 in the second period thanks to some hot perimeter shooting (7-of-9 three-pointers) and the shot-blocking ability of centre Will Magnay.
Sydney tried to rally in the second half but poor outside shooting (3-of-23 from three-point range) kept them from throwing down a serious challenge to the JackJumpers.
While there was no repeat of Scott Roth’s fiery on-court celebrations following Tasmania’s five-point win over the Adelaide 36ers, the JackJumpers coach was thrilled to see his squad build upon their recent success.
“The guys I thought played very well, especially in the second half just in general with buckling down, making some plays and grinding the game out,” Roth said.
“I’m just really proud of them and the effort that they’re giving on a daily basis and the culture they’re building. This is a heck of a win for us.”
Josh Magette paced the JackJumpers with 18 points, Jack McVeigh added 17 points and eight rebounds off the bench and Magnay finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots.
Kings import Jaylen Adams made a dominant start with nine points and three assists as Sydney closed the opening quarter with a 24-15 edge, Tasmania making just two of their 12 three-point attempts.
But with Magnay’s rim protection anchoring the defence, Tasmania surged to a 44-38 halftime lead with Magette nailing three triples as part of a devastating run of 14 straight points from the JackJumpers.
Tasmania held a 58-54 advantage following a tense third quarter then broke away midway through the final stanza, Magette’s fourth three-pointer of the night pushing the lead into double digits.
Sydney coach Chase Buford lamented his squad’s inability to make baskets and find other contributors outside of Adams (24 points), Xavier Cooks (18 points, 13 rebounds) and Jarell Martin (16 points, nine rebounds).
“It was just one of those nights where you’ve got to make some shots. I thought we got some great looks throughout the night at times, we just weren’t able to make any,” Buford said.
Tasmania’s winning run faces a stern test as they embark on a four-game road stretch, starting with the defending champions Melbourne United on Sunday.