Creek cracks Tassie in timely triumph
HEADING into Round 16, the SEM Phoenix were under all sorts of pressure, but a terrific performance from Mitch Creek has led them to an 11-point win against the Tasmania JackJumpers at MyState Bank Arena on Wednesday night.
The Phoenix entered the match on a bit of a form slump, and had dropped to seventh despite being fourth just weeks ago. The clash against Tasmania loomed as crucial, although the JackJumpers were favourites and had home court advantage.
However, an electric all-around showing from Creek was enough to help the Phoenix get back on track and keep their season alive.
Tasmania JackJumpers (75) def. by SEM Phoenix (86)
Mitch Creek – 23 points, 11 rebounds, five assists
In the crucial games, the big guns stand up, and that is exactly what Creek did against the JackJumpers on the road.
Creek’s 23 points were the most of anyone on the court, proving a class above in what was a bit of a defensive scrapfest at times. Often described as a ‘professional scorer’, the veteran was able to penetrate a Tasmania defence that has proven tough to crack for many stars of the competition at times.
Despite attracting plenty of double-teams and tight coverages, he was the premier scorer of the match. Despite not producing the most accurate performance of his campaign (6/18 FG), he still chalked his total past 20 points, with all of his made buckets coming from two-point territory.
Creek has been one of the competition’s best rebounders in his past couple of games, making the most of flying in third man up. As he did against the Bullets, Creek hunted the offensive boards, and generated plenty of second chance points. Not afraid to throw up a putback, it was a source of a lot of crucial points for the gun forward. Five of his 11 rebounds were offensive, and all were crucial in getting the Phoenix to victory.
Creek was also able to find his teammates with ball in hand, making the right decision whenever the defence overcommitted to guarding him. The likes of Gary Browne (15 points) and Alan Williams (14 points) benefited from his smart passing. There are not many forwards with a game as complete as Creek’s and it was in full flight against Tasmania.
Creek’s performance against the JackJumpers was one of the most important by any player this season, singlehandedly keeping South East Melbourne’s season alive by doing a bit of everything.