Chris Goulding went 4/5 from three in United's win (Photo: Melbourne United / X)

It was raining inside and outside John Cain Arena on Sunday afternoon, thanks to a long-ball masterclass from Ian Clark and Chris Goulding. The pair shot 8/10 from beyond the arc in Melbourne United’s 97-88 win against the New Zealand Breakers.  

Despite their efficiency from three, Clark and Goulding were denied the opportunity to shoot freely from behind the arc. In the process, the Breakers limited United to just 19 long-range attempts for the game, their lowest number this season. Coach Dean Vickerman said that although Clark and Goulding had their touches limited, they were immense when given opportunity.  

“I look at that and say, ‘how do we get more quality threes?’ and ‘how do we find more ways to get [Goulding] more than eight shots tonight’,” he says.

“But when they get open, you feel like it’s in. Ian’s really added that punch to us and I thought he handled his 30 minutes better.”   

Goulding only had two points to half-time and one three-point attempt to his name but that didn’t stop Melbourne United from getting off to a fast start. The home side lead by went on a 7-0 run late in the first term to hold a 10-point lead at the first change. 

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New Zealand clawed their way back into the game through former NBA player Zylan Cheatham who scored 13 points in the term. Patrick Jackson-Cartwright was the other player in double digits for the Breakers at the half, complimenting his two steals. Luke Travers top scored for United with 15 points. 

Jackson-Cartwright was a defensive beast in the third, adding another three steals to his name. His efforts helped the visitors remain ahead for the whole quarter. However, an Ian Clark floater at the buzzer saw them trailing leading into the final term.

Cheatham tried to singlehandedly wrestle back momentum in the last quarter, but the sharp-shooting duo of Clark and Goulding had already found their groove. Regardless of the endeavour shown by the Breakers when defending their shots, everything seemed to fall in the pair’s favour.  

When Jackson-Cartwright fouled out with 3:36 remaining, any hope of a comeback from last year’s runners up was vanished. New Zealand coach, Mody Maor, said that the point guard was needed down the stretch.   

“Parker is very important for us, and he needs to stay on court longer,” he said. 

The guard finished with 18 points, five assists and five steals. Meanwhile, Cheatham reached the 30-point mark for the first time in his short NBL career, which was accompanied with five rebounds and four assists. For Melbourne United, five players scored 16 points or more in the nine-point win, with Clark (18) leading allcomers. 

Melbourne United will have another Friday-Sunday double this weekend as they travel over Bass Strait to take on the Tasmania Jackjumpers on Friday night, before hosting the Illawarra Hawks on Sunday afternoon. The New Zealand Breakers will also play twice in round five as they host the Adelaide 36ers on Thursday night, before flying back to Melbourne to play against South East Melbourne Phoenix on Saturday. 

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