With less than six seconds left to play in Saturday night’s enthralling NBL1 West contest between the Lakeside Lightning and South West Slammers men’s team in Perth, Slammers import Buay Tuach coolly did what he does best.
Making clutch shots for his team, no matter the circumstance.
Despite having a rough night from beyond the arc, Tuach fired in a crisp three-point shot to give the Slammers a well-earned 98-97 win over the Lightning, marking their second win of the season.
Although they entered the game with a 1-17 record, the Slammers have played far better than their position on the table indicates, and Saturday night was the latest example of this.
The Slammers were burned by Lightning’s import Landon Taliaferro when both sides met earlier in the season, with the classy American helping himself to 45 points.
He might have top-scored for the home side once again with 25 points, but the Slammers defence made Taliaferro earn every point, such was their dedication throughout the game.
The Slammers began the game with great intensity, with Caleb Van De Griend’s inside presence exceptional. He opened the game with nine points, which ensured the Slammers led for the majority of the first half.
A team who typically shoot the lights out from beyond the arc, the Lightning struggled early, shooting 2/13.
Despite trailing heavily prior to the half-time break, the home side capitalised on a purple patch from Dominic Jackson, which sliced the margin to nine points.
Determined to leave his mark on the game, Jackson’s teammate Justin Bennett (20 points — 6/9 from beyond the arc) got the hot hand offensively in the third term, with a series of long-range efforts putting the Lightning in an ideal position heading into the final quarter.
But the Slammers were not to be denied, with both Van De Griend (30 points — 13/18 field goal attempts) and Tuach showcasing the full range of their aerial expertise to deliver one of the best victories for the men’s program in years.
Field goals (Lightning 22/43, Slammers 29/46); three-point attempts(Lightning 14/43, Slammers 8/23); free throw attempts (Lightning 11/12, Slammers 16/19); total rebounds (Slammers 41-40 Lightning); assists (Lightning 24-22 Slammers); steals (Slammers 7-6 Lightning); turnovers (Slammers 15-9 Lightning)