Melbourne United continue to keep their faint NBL finals hopes alive after defeating the Tasmania JackJumpers 92-85 in Hobart to extend their late-season revival.
Melbourne entered Saturday's do-or-die clash at MyState Bank Arena having dropped their last four matches against the JackJumpers, including back-to-back losses in last season's semi-final series that saw Tasmania qualify for the grand final in their inaugural season.
But Melbourne overcame the loss of centre Isaac Humphries (knee) and veteran David Barlow (concussion) in the first quarter to record their 11th win of the campaign and remain in the hunt for a berth in the league's new post-season play-in tournament.
Chris Goulding scored a game-high 23 points for United, Marcus Lee dominated under the basket with 22 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks, while Shea Ili marked his 200th national league appearance with 10 points and eight assists.
Coach Dean Vickerman felt his side managed the occasion well, along with the crowd noise, as United chalked up their third win in four visits since Tasmania re-entered the competition.
"They were always going to fight back and make runs at you but I thought that little patch after halftime (was important) where we established a lead and we're able to hold on to it and play the type of defence that we wanted to play," Vickerman said.
The home side made a slow start to the contest after missing their opening eight shots but came back with a flurry thanks to 10 first-quarter points from Jack McVeigh, including a late four-point play that allowed Tasmania to edge ahead 20-17.
United opened the second quarter with a 5-0 run but soon trailed by five points as extra opportunities for Tasmania started to mount up until Rayjon Tucker and Goulding connected from long range to see both teams finish the first half with 44 points apiece.
Tasmania's 11-3 advantage in offensive rebounds help to earn an extra 15 shot attempts in the opening half compared to United, but the visitors showed greater execution on offence to keep pace with the home side.
After trading blows for the majority of the third stanza, United outscored Tasmania 12-4 to grab a 71-63 lead heading into the final period with Goulding capping an 11-point term with his fifth three-pointer of the game.
United appeared to have the result in their keeping with a 13-point buffer in the fourth quarter but Milton Doyle drained back-to-back triples before adding another to make it a four-point margin with one minute to play.
But Lee secured the win and a personal double-double by tipping in a Goulding miss as the JackJumpers dropped from fourth spot on the ladder to seventh with an 11-10 record.