JackJumpers make statement with big win over United
The Tasmania JackJumpers have returned to top form, emphatically beating league-leading Melbourne United by 21 points in Hobart.
The Tasmania JackJumpers have heeded the call from their coach to rediscover their best basketball in the run to the finals with a commanding 107-86 home win against the league-leading Melbourne United.
The JackJumpers came into the game at a sold out MyState Bank Arena having lost their last two, four of the last five and six of the past eight - but remained in third position.
Having re-signed during the week, Scott Roth had called on his team to reclaim their identity if they wanted to achieve anything in NBL24.
The JackJumpers made quite the statement on Friday night against the runaway league-leaders, taking full advantage of a Melbourne team missing Shea Ili and Jo Lual-Acuil.
United made a flying start to lead 11-1 after the opening three minutes of the contest, with Ian Clark (15 points) and Chris Goulding (16 points) prominent.
Tasmania soon steadied, led 24-22 by quarter-time and dominated the contest from there, with the combination of a continued road trip and missing two key starters catching up with Melbourne.
The game was a fifth straight on the road for United while tennis's Australian Open occupies John Cain Arena.
The absence of their two stars was heavily felt as Jordon Crawford (25 points, 5 assists) dominated for Tasmania.
Lual-Acuil's size and rim protection was sorely missed, too, especially when Next Star Ariel Hukporti already had four fouls by the third quarter.
It was to the JackJumpers' credit that they made United struggle, opening up a 54-44 lead by the halftime break before building an advantage as big as 26 and winning by 21.
The victory improves the JackJumpers to 12-11 in third place with Jack McVeigh adding 23 points on 4-of-6 three-point shooting.
Three blocks from Will Magnay in 10 minutes showed how important a rim protector he is - Tasmania outscored United by 16 points with Magnay on the court.
Anthony Drmic added 16 points and Marcus Lee 13 to go with 10 rebounds.
Melbourne remain clear in top spot despite the loss at 16-6.
They struggled shooting from deep going 7-of-27 while being out-rebounded by 20 with the JackJumpers having 20 offensive boards for 24 second-chance points.
HUNGRY JACKS NBL ROUND 16
TASMANIA JACKJUMPERS 107 (Crawford 25, McVeigh 23, Drmic 16)
MELBOURNE UNITED 86 (Goulding 16, Clark 15, Hukporti 13)