After being notably off on his usual efficiency, Tasmania’s Milton Doyle came up big, knocking down some big shots late in the contest against Melbourne United on Sunday afternoon.
It was enough to hand the previously undefeated United their first loss of the 2023/24 NBL season.
Doyle who spent some time in the NBA with the Brooklyn Nets and also made the All–NBL First Team last season, will be a vital cog in the JackJumpers machine if they are to reach the top this season.
Although Doyle and 168cm dynamo Jordan Crawford were missing regular shots throughout the game, they still managed to keep their team in the contest after trailing for significant periods of the game at John Cain Arena.
But both men had to lift again if they were to come out of the contest with an unlikely victory.
It was Doyle who took it upon himself, and despite going one from 10 from beyond the arc midway through the last quarter, he continued to back himself in.
The American soon found voice and his range, knocking down his last four shots and snatching the game out of United’s tight grasp. The JackJumpers led for all of just two minutes in the much highly anticipated contest.
In the post-match press conference, Doyle said it was a matter of just backing himself in and continuing to put up shots.
“I just couldn’t make a basket, but shooters keep shooting, some fell in at the end,” Doyle said.
Early in the last quarter, United made a major run to lead 68-55 and at that point, it looked like the game was dead and buried.
Doyle credited his team’s mentality to continue to play and that is what ultimately led them to victory.
“Never give in, I think we’ve always got a chance no matter the score, as long as there’s a little time on the clock, we’ve got a chance,” he said.
“It’s great, you see nobody’s faces change on the court, that’s the great thing. Everybody has the same mentality, next play, everybody’s locked in the whole time.”
He also credited Jordan Crawford for helping to create scoring opportunities.
“I love it, it’s the most open shots I’ve got in a while, so him just breaking down his defenders, getting in the paint and creating all this extra help, makes my job easier,“ he said.
The JackJumpers will next face the Illawarra Hawks in Tasmania on Thursday the 12th of October.