Image: Kevan Sangster

In a tough, up and down first half by both teams, Melbourne United found their shooting range in the third quarter to seal victory in Brisbane in an important game.

Melbourne United showed their class in third quarter, outscoring the Bullets 29-21 and continued their high-scoring run to keep their slim finals hopes alive.

With the Bullets missing Aaron Baynes due to injury, Chris Goulding and David Barlow returned to the line-up after missing the Christmas Day game due to injury/illness.

Both teams had a frenetic start to the game with the Bullets getting the jump early, forcing United into defensive breakdowns and transition scores.

Stepping up in Baynes’ absence, Gorjok Gak made the most of his opportunities, attacking screens and forcing problems Melbourne to look for ways to stop his presence in the paint.

Whilst Melbourne opening the scoring in the second quarter, with Mason Peatling and Chris Goulding starting hot, Brisbane continued to stay with United. The Bullets had a 12-2 scoring run with the likes of Tyler Johnson, Nathan Sobey, Jason Cadee and Gorjok Gak having major influence in keeping Brisbane in the game.

After a slow start to the game, Rayjon Tucker started to impact the game, whilst Isaac Humphries and Marcus Lee combined for 18 points in the post for Melbourne. There was nothing to separate the sides at half time, the scores level at 43 apiece.

Both teams struggled to land shots from the three-point line in the opening half, shooting at 17 per cent and 18 per cent. Although United shot the ball particularly well from the field at 44 per cent.

United had a strong third quarter, outscoring Brisbane 29-21 and finding a way to respond defensively and create a flow on the attacking end of the court.

Chris Goulding was hot from deep after a tough first half, shooting at five from seven at 72 per cent from the field and 67 per cent from three, injecting some much-needed energy for United.

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Turnovers hurt for the Bullets in the third quarter, giving away too many possessions and giving up transition points to United.

The Bullets scored the first six points of the last quarter, but failed to make the most of their opportunities. United continued they’re strong second half, controlling the last quarter and going on a 20-6 scoring run to seal victory 99-86.

Speaking to the media post-game, Melbourne United coach Dean Vickerman spoke about how his team responded to Brisbane’s scoring run

“We just showed more composure down the offensive end to take our time and get good shots and let the ball move around,” Vickerman said.

“We made some simple plays going to the rim and using some shot clock which was pleasing.”

Vickerman praised the influence of Humphries and Marcus Lee and the both of them playing a strong factor.

“He [Isaac] missed a couple of easy ones around the rim,” he said.

“But he comes with six offensive rebounds, couple of those he was seeing guys on the perimeter, trying to throw it out to him, couple of those got deflected. He did a lot of good things, him and Marcus Lee as a combination.

“You can get both playing exceptional on one night. If one’s just a little bit off, the other one really picks it up.

“Marcus has five offensive boards and it’s a big part of our win tonight, it was the 28 boards and just our commitment to go rebound.”

Melbourne United face one game in Round 14, facing the JackJumpers away on Saturday afternoon.

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