State Basketball League: Mandurah Magic men fall short to Cockburn Cougars in dying minutes

Some late-game heroics from Mandurah imports Shaun Stewart and Jamal Shabazz were not enough to secure their team a win as the Magic went down by six points for the second straight week, this time falling to the Cockburn Cougars 81-75.

Stewart hit a clutch three late in the game followed by a Shabazz dunk coming off a Cockburn turnover to put the Magic within three points with 28 seconds left.

But the Cougars nailed their free-throws through Gavin Field and Seva Chan after being sent to the line to put the game on ice.

A frustrating start to the game had Mandurah behind by five points at the end of the first quarter, before the Magic hit back with a flurry of field goals and free throws had them up four at half time.

Akau Deng scored seven of his 14 points in the second quarter, including throwing down a huge dunk in the face of a Cougars defender for an and-one, while Damon Ballantyne and Chad Miegel were among the scorers as well.

But Cockburn’s Field, who finished the night with 30 points and 10 rebounds, could not be stopped in the third as he helped his side dash away to a five-point lead at the final break.

The game came down to the wire but Cockburn did just enough to pick up the road win and hand Mandurah their fourth loss on the season.

Stewart’s performance was an inspiring one, as he tallied 23 points, six rebounds and five assists despite starting the night nursing a hand injury and also sustaining a heavy fall in the fourth quarter.

Shabazz finished the night with almost identical stats to Deng, as both collected 14 points and five rebounds, while Chudier Pal kept his double-double streak alive with 10 points, 10 rebounds.

Pal now has five straight double-double games, having recorded one in each outing to start the season.

The Magic are back at it again tonight on the road against Stirling, tipping off at 8pm.