Written by Ollie Nash
The Hotondo Homes Ballarat Miners will look to go 2-0 as they welcome the Bendigo Braves to the Mars Minerdome for a big round 2 clash following strong wins for both teams in their opening games.
The young, new-look Miners are coming off a tough 94-87 win on the road against Nunawading, while Bendigo looks for its second win in a row following an impressive 73-69 win over the Melbourne Tigers last Sunday.
The Miners will be looking for another even team performance, which was a key factor in their round one win.
Josh Fox (20 points and 13 rebounds), Kuany Kuany (19 points and 6 rebounds) and Sam Short (17 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists) led the way on both ends of the floor, and they will need to do so again against a quality Bendigo team.
They were strongly assisted by key recruits Jerry Evans Jr. (20 points and 5 rebounds) and Deng Acouth (7 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks) who will look to continue to gel with their teammates and build on their strong round one performance.
Bendigo come into Ballarat after a strong win on the road behind Matthew Andronicos’s and Ray Turner’s 16 points. Daniel Hansen was strong off the bench also with 14 points and 5 rebounds.
Looking back over both teams round one games, the battle of the boards will be an important small victory to assist either team in a win. With 43 rebounds for Bendigo (15 offensive) and 48 rebounds for Ballarat (13 offensive), the battle of Ballarat’s big men pair of Acouth and Fox and Bendigo’s Andronicos and Turner could play a big part in the outcome of the game.
Both sides shoot the ball well, Ballarat at 44% and Bendigo 40% from the field, while both go at around 36% from the three-point line, and each collecting 13 assists or above each last week. With all the stats pointing towards an even contest, Ballarat will be hoping to pressure the Braves into another 20 turnovers like last week, to create more shots in transition and score some easy points.