JackJumpers on brink of NBL playoffs

·3-min read

Tasmania JackJumpers have kept alive their dream of an NBL playoff spot in their first season by moving into the top four with a crushing 83-61 home win over leaders Melbourne United.

The result means Tasmania (17-11) move above Perth (16-11).

But Perth, who who haven't missed the playoffs since 1986, can regain fourth spot on percentage with a home win on Sunday over South East Melbourne Phoenix in the final game of the regular season.

Regardless of whether their season continues, Tasmania covered themselves in glory with a second-half mauling of Melbourne at MyState Bank Arena on Saturday.

Up 15-5 early, Tasmania trailed by two and four at quarter and half-time respectively, but outscored United 50-24 in the second half.

It was Melbourne's lowest score and biggest loss of the season.

The JackJumpers had many strong contributors against a listless and lacklustre Melbourne team, who were without Matthew Dellavedova (mouth) and David Barlow (concussion) and had Jack White pull out of the game with soreness after the warmup.

MiKyle Mcintosh scored 20 points, Josh Adams 19, Josh Magette 14 and Jack McVeigh had seven points and 10 rebounds.

Melbourne had just two double-digit scorers.

"Our guys just fought and fought and got back in that second half and kind of opened things up," JackJumpers' coach Scott Roth told ESPN.

No team has ever missed the finals with 17 wins, but that will be the JackJumpers' fate if Perth win on Sunday.

"We'll have a family day scheduled for our entire team tomorrow at 1pm and we'll find a TV at some point and see what happens," Roth said.

"Whatever happens, regardless of what the outcome is it's been an amazing year, I'm super proud.

"I think this team has just been incredible."

Tasmania made six of their first seven field goal attempts as they surged to a 10-point lead with Adams hitting three early triples.

Caleb Agada was Melbourne's major offensive weapon scoring 14 of his game-high 22 points in the first quarter, as United produced a 15-3 run to lead 20-18 at quarter time.

Melbourne led 37-33 at halftime.

The only man who heated up offensively in the second was Melbourne centre Jo-Lual Acuil, who scored 10 of his 12 points in that quarter after going scoreless in the first.

A 12-0 Tasmania run late in the third quarter broke Melbourne's resistance and the JackJumpers led by as much as 27 in the final term.

United captain and sharpshooting guard Chris Goulding missed all five of his field goal attempts in over 26 minutes of court time and his only points came from two final-quarter free throws.

"The way they came out in the third and some of the errors we made, not defending back cuts, gave them great momentum," United coach Dean Vickerman said.

"Credit to them the desperation and the physicality they played with tonight was at a high level.

"It just looked a little selfish tonight, we didn't execute the way that we should have and create the shots we needed to."

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