The Roar
The Roar


NBL Round 5: Goulding fires United to sixth straight win, Bullets shoot down Tassie, Miller injury sours Taipans' win

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29th October, 2023

Chris Goulding has fired off a season-high seven three-pointers to steer NBL ladder leaders Melbourne United to a 96-84 win over the Illawarra Hawks.

Operating without injured guards Ian Clark (hamstring) and Matthew Dellavedova (concussion) on Sunday, Melbourne suffered a first-half scare when Luke Travers was forced off after a knock to his left knee.

It came as visitors Illawarra surged as much as 10 points clear during a high-scoring first half at John Cain Arena.

But United captain Goulding’s hot hand kept his team in the contest as he drained 21 first-half points, including five three-pointers.

Goulding finished with 33 points including seven triples – more than any other player in a game this season – as United’s tough defence in the second half carried them home.

Shea Ili (17 points) and Tanner Krebs (14) also reached double figures for Melbourne.

The result extended United’s winning streak to six games, giving them an 8-1 record on top of the ladder.

Import forward Gary Clark (24 points) and Justin Robinson (20) tried to give Illawarra a lift but Tyler Harvey managed just 10 points, three days after his clutch three-pointer sealed a thrilling win over Cairns.


In a sloppy start, United committed five turnovers in the first period and trailed at quarter-time for the first time this season.

Clark’s eight points on perfect shooting led Illawarra to a 29-24 advantage at that point.

His tally swelled to 16 by the main break and the Hawks’ lead reached double figures soon after United temporarily lost Travers to injury.

But Goulding caught fire to lead United to a 52-51 at the main break.

Defence was key in the second half as both sides tightened up, with Melbourne holding the visitors to just 15 points in the final period.

Travers returned after half-time, finishing with six points and a game-high 11 rebounds.


Ariel Hukporti retained his spot in Melbourne’s starting five ahead of Jo Lual-Acuil Jr and impressed with seven points and 10 rebounds, including four on the offensive end.

Bullets ride late luck to win over Tasmania

Nathan Sobey has peeled off a game-high 28 points as Brisbane survived a late Tasmania fightback to continue their NBL resurgence with a tense 90-87 win.

Despite being without star big Aron Baynes (suspended) and import guard Shannon Scott (hamstring), the Bullets soared to a second straight victory on Sunday and snapped a quirky streak in the process.

It was their first win after seven straight losses in Sunday fixtures, in a run that dates back to last season.

Far more importantly, the result levelled Brisbane’s current season record at 4-4 after five rounds.

But it didn’t come easily as fourth-quarter specialists Tasmania trimmed a seven-point deficit back to a single point when Majok Deng drove to the rack with 34 seconds remaining.


The two sides traded blows in the dying stages and the JackJumpers almost sent the game to overtime when they pinched Sam McDaniel’s inbounds pass on the final play.

Jack McVeigh got a hand in to force the turnover and Tasmania found Jordon Crawford, but his decent look at an attempted game-leveller rimmed out.

The JackJumpers, who trailed by seven at three-quarter time, kept alive their record of winning every fourth term this season, but it wasn’t enough.

Brisbane captain Sobey led from the front as defensive specialist Mitch Norton kept Tasmania’s import Crawford (16 points) relatively quiet until the final period.

Tyrrell Harrison and Josh Bannan (10 points each) were important for the Bullets, while Chris Smith (11) and Isaac White (10) gave solid contributions off the bench.

The gut-wrenching loss ended a horror round five for the JackJumpers, who lost at home to Melbourne United before going down to the Bullets.


It left them with a 4-4 record after a strong 4-2 start to the season.

McVeigh (18 points) and Deng (17) gave strong offensive contributions for Tasmania, who lost Marcus Lee for the final few minutes after the starting centre fouled out.

Taipans import injured in win over Kings

A nasty back injury to first-year import sensation Patrick Miller has marred the Taipans’ otherwise impressive 87-80 win over Sydney at the Cairns Convention Centre.

Miller, who entered Saturday night’s clash ranked second in the NBL in scoring and fourth in assists, had the hosts in control before an explosive drive to the bucket ended with him crashing to the floor, 1:09 out from halftime.

The American’s head whip-lashed onto the floor before he got up gingerly and walked slowly to the bench holding his lower back, unable to continue.

Stepping up were acting skipper Bul Kuol (24, played all 40 minutes) and big Sam Waardenburg (22) for the Snakes, who shrugged off last Thursday’s buzzer-beating heartbreak in Illawarra by taking the NBL’s most prized scalp.


It shot them from fifth to third on the ladder, while sending the Kings slumping from second to fourth.

“We kept moving down the bench to bring guys in,” Cairns coach Adam Forde said. “Everyone responded.

“I’m super happy for the group that they could fill some short-term reward with a win at home.”

Ex-Taipan Kouat Noi (18 points) top-scored for the visitors, while Jaylen Adams (13) and DJ Hogg (13) – playing against his former side in his long-awaited debut for his new team following a shoulder injury – got on the scoresheet, but both shot under 30 per cent, embodying the Kings’ rocky evening.

The two-time reigning champions were all at sea early, out-rebounded 18-6 in the opening term while missing their first 15 three-pointers.

Cairns boosted their 26-20 quarter-time buffer to 12 points shortly before Miller’s night ended in stomach-churning style.


The injury left their backcourt stocks further depleted, with Taran Armstrong (foot) and captain Tahjere McCall (family reasons) already missing.

Without Miller running the point, the home side’s offence suddenly looked shaky in the third term as Sydney briefly took the lead on a Hogg triple.

The undermanned Taipans responded with a 15-0 burst either side of three-quarter time, highlighted by Swedish young gun Bobi Klintman’s thunderous dunk down the middle over rival Next Star Alex Toohey.

Down by 14, Sydney closed the gap to four points before unsportsmanlike fouls against Denzel Valentine and Makuach Maluach ended their revival.

Lamenting “the defensive mistakes that we made”, Kings coach Mahmoud Abdelfattah added: “They made more plays than we did, they got to the 50/50 balls and they stuck together. 

“Kudos to them, they deserved it.”


Phoenix hold off fast-finishing Breakers

South East Melbourne Phoenix have survived a massive late scare to clinch a tense 103-100 victory over the fast-finishing New Zealand Breakers at John Cain Arena.

The Phoenix were eyeing off a percentage pile-on when they led by a whopping 26 points on Saturday before the bottom-placed, injury-hit Breakers produced a brave rearguard to almost pinch a miracle.

The Phoenix’s big four – Alan Williams (21 points, 13 rebounds), Mitch Creek (20 points), Gary Browne (18 points, eight assists) and Will Cummings (16 points, all in the first half) – led the way but the final stages got too close for comfort.

Electrifying American point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright (33 points, eight assists) and Finn Delany (21 points) were instrumental in the 32-19 fourth-quarter fightback from the Breakers, who were brave despite succumbing to their fourth successive defeat.

“We were one lucky bounce away from winning this game,” NZ coach Mody Maor said. “Our guys are doing everything they can and everything I ask of them everyday. “They are working as hard as can be. Our fans should be proud of the level of effort our guys put in.”


They were without import power forward Zylan Cheatham, who suffered a broken foot in last Thursday’s loss to Adelaide, and Williams duly proved a beast in the low block against the undersized Anthony Lamb.

Behind Williams’ dominance and Browne’s ball-handling and playmaking wizardry, the Phoenix pulled ahead 31-21 at quarter-time.

Cummings scored at will in the second stanza before Creek inspired a 16-0 third-quarter burst for the home side, whose advantage swelled to 80-54.

NZ reverted to a zone defence and centre Mangok Mathiang impacted at both ends as the Breakers went 17-2 either side of three-quarter-time to haul themselves back into the contest.

Quicksilver Cartwright-Jackson poured in 10 points inside three minutes to reduce the margin to three points down the stretch before Williams’ hook and Browne’s free throw iced it narrowly.

“It was frustrating to see the lead dwindle,” Phoenix coach Mike Kelly said. “But it’s a win. The guys are going in the right direction. “I’m not disappointed, I’m stoked.”

Bullets shoot down weakened Wildcats


The Brisbane Bullets have shrugged off the absence of two important players to outwork the Wildcats at their home RAC Arena in Perth and produce a performance full of heart for their 84-79 NBL win.

Both teams were 2-4 coming into Friday’s match and on losing slides, but it was the Wildcats who had the pressure building, even with the Bullets being without key pair, the suspended Aron Baynes and injured Shannon Scott.

Brisbane scored the first seven points before opening up a 20-point lead in the third quarter and going on to win by five after holding out against a furious late charge from the home team.

The team effort of the Bullets was outstanding as they got another 17 points from captain Nathan Sobey.

Chris Smith put up 16 points, Josh Bannan 15 and Tyrell Harrison 12 to go with five rebounds and three blocks in just 14 minutes.

First-year Bullets coach Justin Schueller couldn’t have been prouder of his team.


“It was a big game for us having dropped four, with two marquees out and we knew we had to come in here and play near a perfect game,” he said.

“My initial thought is just pleasure in how the guys stuck to a plan, and found our advantages consistently throughout the night.”

The Wildcats missed 18 of their first 19 three-point attempts before making a couple midway through the last quarter from Keanu Pinder, who finished with 22 points and five rebounds.

He was a lone shining light for a Wildcats team, who have lost four straight. Again, superstar Bryce Cotton struggled to 10 points and five assists on 3-of-19 shooting.

“My words during the week were that we’re just not playing good, that showed again tonight,” Perth coach John Rillie said.

“Our offence isn’t functioning very good right now. We’re doing a great job holding teams to scores where we could put enough points on the board to win, in saying that we’re not doing that.

“That’s certainly something we have to address and resolve here pretty quickly.”


Brisbane, who were on a four-game losing streak, started with the game’s first seven points and were still leading 20-9 by the end of the first quarter.

While the Wildcats had their moments in the second quarter, Brisbane did well to lead 42-36 at the long break.

It was 17-year-old Rocco Zikarsky who stood tall in the paint in the third quarter with Harrison in foul trouble.

Sobey and Smith then knocked down shots as the Bullets lead ballooned to 20.

The Wildcats did make a charge with a Pinder-inspired 11-0 run in the fourth to cut the deficit to three, but the Bullets answered with strong inside finishes from Harrison and Bannan to secure the win.

United flex muscles in road win over JackJumpers

Melbourne United have had to withstand a hot start and finish from the Tasmania JackJumpers but in between were outstanding on the way to a 90-82 victory in the NBL.


The league’s top two teams locked horns at a sold out MyState Bank Arena on Friday night and it was the JackJumpers who raced out of the blocks with a 17-4 start, but United took control from there.

Melbourne led by as many as 16 points midway through the fourth quarter on the back of a three ball from Luke Travers (14 points, 13 rebounds), having outscored the JackJumpers by 78 points to 49 after the first five minutes.

The JackJumpers pulled off a remarkable comeback on Melbourne back in round two and got as close as four points in the final minute, but United held firm for a fifth straight win to stay on top at 7-1.

Dean Vickerman was celebrating his 300th game coaching in the NBL, and the Melbourne boss was full of praise for his team.

“Tonight was a little bit like my career,” he said.

“We didn’t start great but once we found our rhythm and especially the way we came out of the half and had a great third quarter, and held on down a few players at the end there. But we held on.”

NBA and NBL champion Ian Clark top-scored with 19 points, with rookie Kyle Bowen adding a career-best 17 as did Jo Lual-Acuil along with 10 rebounds.


Jack McVeigh led the way for Tasmania with 20 points and seven rebounds, with Jordon Crawford contributing 16 points and four assists, and Milton Doyle 12 points and five assists.

Tasmania coach Scott Roth was philosophical afterwards, having given up 18 offensive rebounds and lost the battle on the glass by 16.

“We got a little uncharacteristic with our shot selection, which was a credit to them,” he said.

“Then they beat us up on the glass. It’s just little things when you get in those kind of games that are going to make the separation points.”

The JackJumpers opened up on fire, racing to a 17-4 lead inside the opening five minutes including three balls to Crawford and McVeigh, but United soon steadied and it was the introduction of Lual-Acuil that inspired it.

Melbourne would close the quarter outscoring Tasmania 17 points to four before three-pointers midway through the second stanza from Bowen and Clark put them up five.


United were still leading 43-42 at halftime, on the back of 11 extra rebounds and 10 second-chance points, before captain Chris Goulding opened his account at the start of the second half from downtown.

Clark hit his second long ball of the game soon after to push Melbourne’s lead out to nine, his third stretched it to double-figures and Bowen landed two surprise ones of his own.

The United lead grew to 16 before the JackJumpers showed their trademark fight with a 14-2 run – but they couldn’t quite complete the job.

Harvey’s Hawks buzzer beater sinks Taipans

Illawarra Hawks import Tyler Harvey has sealed an 84-83 upset defeat of the Cairns Taipans with a clutch three-pointer in the final seconds at WIN Entertainment Centre.

Staring down the possibility of a 1-5 start to the NBL season, last year’s wooden spooners looked intent on staging an ambush on Thursday night as captain Sam Froling fired early.

But the Taipans chased down a 13-point lead and edged in front in the final quarter, with Patrick Miller (24 points, seven assists) leading the charge.


Miller’s jump shot in the final 10 seconds gave the Taipans a two-point lead that looked as though it could have been match-winning.

But the Hawks belted down the court and the ball found itself in Harvey’s hands for their final roll of the dice. 

His deep three swished through the net with one second remaining, sending the home crowd into raptures and improving the Hawks to 2-4.

“I turned around to my assistants and I said, ‘That’s why we have him (Harvey)’,” said Hawks coach Jacob Jackomas.

“It’s good that people can be reminded how special he is at the end of the clock.

“In that space, he always gives us a chance.”

The Taipans are now 2-2 to start the season, having also dropped their two games against NBA sides as part of that league’s pre-season.


“It’s a tall order to expect us to win if we keep giving up second-chance points,” said Taipans coach Adam Forde.

“I don’t want to discredit Illawarra (but) during the game, I felt like we were better-equipped to close it out, but we didn’t and Illawarra did. It’s the one that got away.”

Nine first-quarter points from Froling helped the Hawks to a nine-point lead at the first change.

Froling (16 points, 13 rebounds) had his double-double with seven minutes remaining in the third quarter.

But Cairns did a better job at targeting him later on, keeping the rangy centre scoreless in the second half.

“He had a great game,” Jackomas said.


Import Justin Robinson, who had struggled from the field to begin the season, hit a three that forced a timeout and restored a game-high 13-point lead in the third quarter.

But lapses in concentration threatened to cost the Hawks.

They invited Cairns back into the game by shooting only one of their last nine attempts from the field in the third quarter, having gone almost four minutes without scoring from the field in the second.

WOLLONGONG, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 26: Tyler Harvey of the Hawks shoots during the round five NBL match between Illawarra Hawks and Cairns Taipans at WIN Entertainment Centre, on October 26, 2023, in Wollongong, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Tyler Harvey shoots for Illawarra against Cairns in Wollongong. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

After the break, a free-throw from Sam Waardenburg tied things up, one of nine occasions in the final quarter alone that scores were level.

It took Harvey’s moment of magic to split the sides late.

“I’m really happy for the guys,” Jackomas said.


“It is a bit of a relief, but we need to move on into being a basketball team now, not the team that’s relieved to win.

“I’m really confident in these guys.”

Cheatham injured as 36ers upset Breakers

The New Zealand Breakers face a nervous wait after losing import Zylan Cheatham to a leg injury in the 97-85 upset loss to the Adelaide 36ers.

Without a hand being laid on him, ex-NBA forward Cheatham pulled up sore changing direction early in the fourth quarter at Auckland’s Spark Arena on Thursday night.

Cheatham was unable to put weight on his right leg as Breakers staff helped him from the floor. 

He played no further part in the match, but there was no immediate update on his condition after full-time.


“It’s too early. We’ll pray for good news,” said Breakers coach Mody Maor.

Any long-term injury would be troublesome for last season’s runners-up, who have begun the campaign with only one win from four games.

Cheatham’s injury proved a turning point. The Breakers had maintained a slim lead for most of the night as Cheatham (17 points, eight rebounds) combined with guard Will McDowell-White to strong effect.

But the Sixers went on a 10-0 run straight after the American went off, then moved in front for the first time since the opening quarter.

Sunday Dech nailed a three-pointer to give what was then the 36ers’ biggest lead of the day (seven points).

They never again trailed, clinching the final quarter 27-14.


“Zylan’s a focal point for us in everything that we do, he’s also one of our leaders, one of our best competitors,” Maor said.

“To see him go down like this, I think deflated us.

“New team, new people, new leaders, these are the kinds of things that we need to learn to deal with.”

The 36ers, tipped as possible wooden spooners in the pre-season, have now won three of their past four games.

Mid-season recruit Dejan Vasiljevic (24 points, five assists) took centre stage for the Sixers after Cheatham went off.

The two-time NBL champion sank his 200th three-pointer in the first half and hit three more in the fourth quarter as the Sixers broke away.


“He’s a tough SOB,” 36ers coach CJ Bruton said.

“When it comes down to it, from the juniors, to the seniors, to the pros, that’s who he is and he carries that. He’s got respect from everyone, not only our team, but the league.”

Sixers big man Isaac Humphries, who starred in an upset defeat of Perth last game, had been instrumental earlier on.

The centre (17 points, 11 rebounds) used his size advantage to dominate the paint and help Adelaide remain in the game, despite giving up 10 first-half turnovers as a team. They finished with a staggering 23.

The Breakers were left to rue wayward free-throw shooting (12 from 20 attempts), which meant they were never able to open up a double-digit lead.

Former Golden State Warriors forward Anthony Lamb (25 points) is acclimatising quickly to the NBL, though the Breakers recruit had too little help as he notched nine fourth-quarter points.