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McVeigh's magical game-winner sparks Tassie

24 Mar
3 mins read
Tasmania has fought back from a 15-point deficit to claim a memorable win and level the series.

The Tasmania JackJumpers were staring down the barrel of an almost unassailable deficit to start the second half but fired back to beat Melbourne United 82-77 to level the NBL Championship Series.

Melbourne won the opening game of the best-of-five series by 23 points at home on Sunday and with Chris Goulding (19 points) leading the charge, went on an 11-0 run to start the second half at a sold out MyState Bank Arena on Friday.

That had United leading by 15 points and when Tasmania big man Will Magnay also picked up a fourth foul, it looked like it might have been a mountain too high for the JackJumpers.

Nobody told them that, though, with Jack McVeigh (16 points, eight rebounds, four assists) lifting them back into the contest to close the third quarter and cut the deficit to three.

Despite Tasmania going up five with two and-a-half minutes to go, it still went down to the wire but the JackJumpers did enough. Getting Jo Lual-Acuil (nine points, 11 rebounds) and Shea Ili (20 points) out of the game with five fouls proved instrumental.

The series is tied at one win apiece with the third game to be in Melbourne on Sunday. It's guaranteed to return to Hobart at least for Game 4 next Thursday.

Tasmania's import point guard Jordon Crawford was the one to get going early having come into the game scoring 12 points over his past three games on 5-of-28 shooting.

He had 13 points in six minutes of Game 2 but wouldn’t score again and took just two shots the last three quarters.

The JackJumpers had plenty others stepping up with development player Sean Macdonald coming up huge with 13 points in 30 minutes.

Milton Doyle was hounded all evening by Ili's defence but had 13 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. Marcus Lee added eight points, six boards and three blocks, and Magnay battled foul trouble again for seven points and five rebounds.

JackJumpers coach Scott Roth was full of praise for his team's fighting performance to level the series.

"I thought it was just a gutsy effort really at the end of the day," he said.

"Obviously things weren’t looking really well for us, but the MO of our teams for three years now is to never give up and keep fighting.

"They kept their composure, figured out some things and we made a nice run to get it back to a manageable level, and then holding them to 14 points defensively in the fourth quarter was fantastic."

Melbourne managed just 22 points in the last 17 minutes of the game going from leading by 15 to lose by five while shooting 38 per cent from the field.

United coach Dean Vickerman quickly turned his attention to Sunday's game three back in Melbourne.

"I didn’t really enjoy the time between games, I would have preferred to play sooner but now we have bodies to take care of," he said.

"I'm sure everyone got through that game well so we'll review it tonight, talk about it tomorrow and hopefully have an absolutely sold out crowd at John Cain waiting for us.

"We look forward to getting back there."


TASMANIA JACKJUMPERS 82 (McVeigh 16, Crawford 13, Doyle 13, Macdonald 13)

MELBOURNE UNITED 77 (Ili 20, Goulding 19, Lual-Acuil Jr 9)



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