JackJumpers end Taipans winning NBL run

A stunning fourth-quarter surge from the Tasmania JackJumpers has handed the second-year franchise a vital 85-77 road win over Cairns Taipans to keep them in the frame for back-to-back NBL playoff appearances.

The JackJumpers poured in the final 11 points of Friday night's clash at Cairns Convention Centre and held the Taipans scoreless for almost five minutes to bring the home side's quest for a franchise-best seventh successive victory to a screeching halt.

After DJ Hogg's three-pointer handed the Taipans a 77-74 lead with 4:52 to play, Jack McVeigh came up big for the JackJumpers with back-to-back triples and Milton Doyle clinched the result with a long bomb as Cairns missed their final nine shots of the game.

McVeigh scored 11 of his team-high 18-points in the fourth quarter to inspire Tasmania to their 14th win of the season as they move ahead of Perth (12-10) into fourth spot and stay one game clear of sixth-placed South East Melbourne Phoenix and seventh-ranked Melbourne United (both on 13-12).

"The boys trust me, I love fourth quarters and big wins. I mean, this is the time of the year where basketball is at its best," McVeigh told ESPN after his match-winning turn.

Tasmania can earn a double-chance in the league's Play-In Tournament if they finish the regular season in third or fourth spot but need to keep winning and capitalise on losses from either New Zealand (13-10) or the Wildcats.

"We want that top four. I mean, you want two games to try and get to those semi-finals and we're rolling, playing good basketball right now," McVeigh added ahead of tough home assignments against Sydney and Perth before closing on the road against Illawarra.

After trading three-pointers in the opening minutes, the matchup between two of the top defences in the league produced an error-riddled first half with the Taipans and JackJumpers committing a combined 26 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes, compared to a total of 22 made baskets.

A 12-0 scoring run handed the Taipans a 17-14 edge after one quarter but Tasmania then restricted Cairns to 13 points in the second period to take a 34-30 advantage into the main break, reserve guard Matt Kenyon becoming a key contributor for the JackJumpers to lead all scorers with 11 points.

After leading by four points at halftime, Tasmania burst out to a 12-point lead in the third quarter but long-range marksman Jonah Antonio sparked the home side with a pair of three-pointers and the Taipans opened the fourth stanza with eight straight points to regain the lead.

But Cairns fell short despite strong finishes from Hogg and Bul Kuol (17 points apiece), though the return of Keanu Pinder from a six-game absence will improve their chances of securing a top-two finish.