Demos tasked with stopping top Croc

BASKETBALL

Townsville  coach Shawn Dennis is confident back-court general Steve Markovic won't lose his cool with Wollongong defensive hound Tyson Demos tonight.

Markovic is the driving force in the Crocodiles' mini resurgence and looms as a serious threat to Wollongong's prospects tonight.

Demos won't get the starting job against the former West Sydney Razorbacks playmaker but the defensive guard is the Hawks' best bet to keep Markovic quiet.

"I've no doubt they'll have a bit of a plan of how they're going to go at Stevie," Dennis said.

"I expect Tyson Demos to have a real crack at Stevie and try and upset him. That's Tyson's point of difference; being able to get under people's skin.

"The good thing is that this is where Stevie's European experience comes in. He tends to be able to deal with it pretty well.

"Against Perth, they tried to sick Damian Martin on him and he dealt with it perfectly. When you can handle the league's best defender, you can handle whatever comes your way."

Townsville are tied for last spot with Wollongong but the Crocs won their past three games to climb back into final-four contention.

That losing slide ended at the Hawks' expense a fortnight ago.

"A lot of people asked me what the turnaround is, and it's really nothing, because I was always saying we weren't far away from starting to understand ourselves," Dennis said.

"Starting with the Wollongong game, every team has made a run at us during the game but we've done a much better job of dealing with that run.

"Perth really took it to us in the third quarter last week but they only had a four-point lead at three-quarter time.

"In the past that would've been a 12-point lead and we're playing catch-up the rest of the way."

Both teams will be desperate tonight: victory keeps finals hopes alive; defeat could ultimately end with a wooden spoon.

"When we beat them up here, they've obviously gone away and looked at their style," Dennis said.

"They only scored 67 and that's not enough points to win in this league this year against anybody, so they're obviously going to look at how they can [get] more points on the board, and how we defended them."

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