Controversy mars electrifying NBL finish

By AAP,

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    A series of controversial refereeing decisions have become a major talking point following Melbourne’s dramatic NBL victory over Adelaide.

    Both coaches expressed frustration with the officiating after United held on to win 99-91 and complete a four-game season sweep of the 36ers.

    “There were some calls that we questioned, both teams tonight, about what was going on and obviously they just lost their head a little bit and got hurt for that,” Melbourne coach Dean Vickerman said after the 36ers were hit with an unsportsmanlike foul and two technical fouls with the result in the balance.

    Having cut a 16-point deficit to two with 23 seconds remaining, Adelaide big man Daniel Johnson failed to convert a three-point play and captain Brendan Teys’ attempt to foul United’s Peter Hooley was called unsportsmanlike, sparking a furious response.

    “We’ve been told to play for the ball, I thought I reached for it,” Teys said.

    “He crossed over, I tried to reach for the ball and they called that unsportsmanlike”.

    Adelaide coach Joey Wright was similarly bemused.

    “I’ve never been involved in anything like that before,” he said.

    “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

    Wright also expressed his displeasure after the 36ers used what would be their final timeout with more than a minute to go, believing they had an additional timeout after checking with the bench officials.

    He could only watch on as his side imploded in the final seconds.

    Vickerman also questioned the refereeing after Chris Goulding was warned for flopping early in the game before fouling out in the final minutes on a flopping call.

    The Melbourne coach was impressed with his side’s first half performance to restrict Adelaide to 32 points while hitting nine three-pointers to build a 14-point lead but a flat start to the third quarter opened the door for the 36ers.

    Vickerman looked to his bench to help cover the loss of injured star Casey Prather and guard Hooley delivered by hitting two triples and three clutch free throws to finish with 11 points and four assists while Craig Moller also scored twice from outside to add eight points and five rebounds.

    United announced the signing of former NBA forward Carrick Felix as an injury replacement for Prather. He will miss the Boxing Day match but is a good chance of making his debut against Sydney on December 30.

    © AAP 2018

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