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Doyle fires JackJumpers back to winners' list

06 Jan
4 mins read
Milton Doyle returned to his MVP contending level form and the Tasmania JackJumpers bounced back from a couple losses to beat the Cairns Taipans 103-86.

Milton Doyle was back to his MVP contending level form and the Tasmania JackJumpers bounced back from a couple of NBL losses to beat the Cairns Taipans 103-86.

With both teams locked in a battle over one of the NBL play-in positions, the clash at MyState Bank Arena took on extra significance. It was the JackJumpers who regained some form and confidence.

Tasmania were on the back of losses to the South East Melbourne Phoenix and New Zealand Breakers looking to avoid a third straight home defeat against a Snakes team fresh off beating the league-leading Melbourne United.

By the end of the first quarter, the JackJumpers had opened up a 29-20 advantage thanks to late three balls to Sean Macdonald (12 points) and Lachlan Barker.

Tasmania were still on top 51-41 at the half-time break with Doyle back in form with 12 first half points while as a team they shot 56 per cent from the field to just 41 from the Taipans.

The home team blew the game wide open in the third period and late in the piece went on an 20-5 scoring run with the lead growing to as much as 24.

Despite a brief scare with Taran Armstrong (18 points, seven rebounds, four assists) leading the Taipans in the fourth quarter, the JackJumpers scored nine straight points with a couple of dunks from the returning Will Magnay (nine points, four rebounds, three assists) the exclamation point.

The win improves Tasmania to 11-9 in third position with Doyle delivering 31 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

He had plenty of help too with Marcus Lee producing 16 points, Anthony Drmic 11 to go with eight rebounds and Jordon Crawford nine points and seven assists.

JackJumpers coach Scott Roth liked the improved signs, but is anything but content.

"I'm not satisfied and they shouldn’t be either," Roth said.

"We do have a lot of areas to grow in and that's going to take everyone pushing themselves to get to some of those areas.

"More importantly with us, it's about having the mental discipline to follow through on some things, and just stay solid in situation and maintain concentration.

"We tend to let things snowball and when we have steady production, and work rate, that's when we tend to be very difficult to deal with.

"Those areas continue to be an emphasis for us of what we need to clean up and I do feel that when we're on those area and those points, we're a handful for everyone in the league to deal with."

Cairns remain just outside a top six spot at 9-12. Along with the career-best night from rookie Armstrong, Tahjere McCall ended up with 20 points and six assists, Next Star Bobi Klintman 16 points and five rebounds, and Sam Mennenga nine points and eight boards.

It was a rough night for in-form guard Patrick Miller who had just four points with four turnovers on 2-of-11 shooting after injuring a finger early.

Taipans coach Adam Forde was at least happy with the fourth quarter fight.

"I asked for a bit of a gut check by the guys at one point when we were down 24 and that's the positive, I guess, that they provided that," he said.

"It was a real character type moment and obviously we're still talking about a 17-point loss, but we made a good run at it.

"There's a lot of things we need to work on, though, if we're going to give ourselves a chance to compete."

HUNGRY JACK'S NBL ROUND 14

TASMANIA JACKJUMPERS 103 (Doyle 31, Lee 16, Macdonald 12)

CAIRNS TAIPANS 86 (McCall 20, Armstrong 18, Klintman 16)

BOX SCORE

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