Canberra Gunners captain Jono Miller has praised his side's character for overcoming the early ejection of Daniel Joyce to continue their finals charge with an 81-73 win over Nunawading at Belconnen on Saturday.
Miller believes point guard Joyce was hard done by when he was thrown out of the game after an altercation with Nunawading and former Melbourne Tigers star Tommy Greer at the end of the first quarter.
The hosts dug deep to beat the high-flying Spectres and move to within just one win of the eastern conference top four.
Young point guard Tad Dufelmeier (12 points, seven assists, nine rebounds) was superb deputising for Joyce, and was one of six Gunners players to score double figures.
Miller credited his team's resolve in overcoming adversity after the Joyce incident, but was left perplexed by the decision.
"It frustrates me a little bit because the referees say if we have problems with players, they'd see me as captain,'' Miller said.
"To be tossed out over that, a bit of push and shove and not even come to speak to me before [the decision], it's a bit of a slap in the face.
"I don't think he should have went, but in the end it doesn't matter because we got the 'w' in the end.
"If it went the other way, we'd still be talking about it.''
With a favourable draw ahead, the Gunners are a real chance of storming into the playoffs, a prospect which looked unthinkable a month ago.
They host Sandringham at Tuggeranong on Friday in the first of seven matches left in the regular season.
"We thought Nunawading was a 50-50 game, but we've looked at the rest of the roster and we've beaten some of them, and others have poor records coming into town,'' Miller said.
Gunners coach Shawn McEachin said his main focus this week will be to ensure his team doesn't take its foot off the pedal.
"We have to make sure we don't become complacent, it'll be interesting to see our mindset the next couple of weeks,'' he said.
In the women's clash the Canberra Capitals Academy narrowly missed out on a second win for the season, going down 61-53.