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United imports star to end Cats' streak

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21st December, 2019
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Melbourne United, led by Melo Trimble and Shawn Long, impressed in Perth with a dominant 13-point NBL win over the Wildcats.

Melo Trimble and Shawn Long’s credentials were on show at RAC Arena on Saturday night, as the pair dominated in Melbourne United’s 13-point NBL win over the Perth Wildcats.

The reigning premiers had no answers as Melbourne’s two imports dropped 23 points apiece in an 87-74 victory that flattered the home side.

Trimble was a headache for the Wildcats from the opening tip-off, dropping eight points in the opening term.

Long penetrated the Cats offensive consistently and several of his dunks and alley oop finishes will feature on the game’s highlight reel.

He completed a double-double, with 13 rebounds, as did Mitch McCarron (12 points and 12 rebounds).

They successfully took away one of Perth’s great advantages, their second chance scoring.

In one and two-point victories over Melbourne earlier this the season, the Wildcats scored 18 and 19 points respectively from offensive rebounds that they turned into scores.

On Saturday, they had zero points from this method by half-time and finished with only six for the game.

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Melbourne coach Dean Vickerman was impressed by the discipline his players showed.

“Rebounding was massive for us tonight,” he said.

“They still came up with nine offensive rebounds, but it was a solid effort for us to come over here and win the boards.

“We defended both the three-point line and the paint at a very high level today.

“I don’t think we fouled a three-point shot tonight, which we have been guilty of in the first two games against the Wildcats.”

It wasn’t just the long shot that Melbourne defended well. Scoring was difficult for the Cats throughout, from anywhere.

They were 16 points down at the last break having dropped just three of 20 attempts from long range. That finished six from 27 at 22 per cent.

Bryce Cotton scored 15 points at 29 per cent to lead Perth’s scoring.

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Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson was disappointed his players didn’t produce a better effort, considering how big a game it was.

“This is the kind of game you want to come out breathing fire and we had little puffs of smoke, that’s it,” he said.

“We couldn’t guard Trimble. That hurt us. Defensively, transition hurt us too, early in the game.

We did a better job in the second half, holding them to 40 points, but it wasn’t consistent enough.”

The result ended a four-game winning streak for the second-placed Wildcats, on the same night that ladder leaders Sydney lost to the Brisbane Bullets.

© AAP