NOT much went to script for the Albury-Wodonga Bandits on Saturday night, falling to the Dandenong Rangers at home 90-74.
Poor three-point shooting stymied any offensive rhythm the home side was able to develop, and the Rangers capitalised on the other end, exploiting a still-developing defence.
The Bandits trailed for much of the night but were never truly out of the game until the dying stages.
The one good scoring run they needed to reclaim constantly eluded them, particularly in the second half.
Entering the final period trailing by 12, the Bandits were able to narrow the margin back to seven before the Rangers steadied.
Head coach Brad Chalmers said the Bandits simply couldn't hit the big shots they needed to get back into the game.
“We didn't shoot the ball well, we shot 18 per cent from three so that's a significant drop-off on terms of our offence,” he said.
"We probably did some reasonable stuff on defence, but our offence tonight was spluttery at best.
“Not being able to hit shots and get into a rhythm really hurt us.
“We continued to battle on the defensive end, but we weren't able to get any scoreboard pressure going during those momentum swings.
“We'd miss a couple, and then full credit to the Rangers, they hit some big shots under pressure that we weren’t able to match.”
In new import shooting guard JT Terrell's first outing at the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre and without small forward Sawyer Dearborn due to injury, the Bandits ran with a three-guard line-up for most of the night.
While the athletic combinations of Terrell (13 points), Deba George (14), Joel Spear and Jack Duck yielded some highlights, notably a crowd-pleasing chase-down block from the latter, the lack of outside shot-making proved the difference in the end.
TJ Robinson continued to dominate, posting 18 points, 15 rebounds and three assists, while Mitch Newton also finished with 18 points, despite missing all three of his attempts from beyond the arc.
Dandenong's starting five made strong contributions, led by guard Chauncey Orr with 20 points, including 3-4 from three point range.
The loss brings the Bandits’ record to 4-5, making next week's road trip to Canberra to face the Gunners and Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence all the more important.
The Bandits are fifth in the Eastern conference standings.