NBL 36ERS MELBOURNE UNITED
The Adelaide 36ers have kept their finals hopes alive with a convincing 100-86 win over Melbourne United at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.
In front of 9034 fans, the biggest ever crowd for an NBL game in South Australia, the fifth-placed Sixers led at every change on Saturday to move to 11-11 and within striking distance of fourth-ranked Melbourne (11-10).
Jerome Randle (23 points) dominated Melo Trimble (five points on 15 per cent shooting) in a match-up of the point guards.
Sixers big man Eric Griffin (21 points, 11 rebounds) then exploded in the third quarter after Daniel Johnson (19 points) paced the 36ers early.
"Right from the jump we were reacting, anticipating and dictating." Adelaide coach Joey Wright said.
"We can be very proud of that effort. That's going to get you a win most nights."
Chris Goulding (26 points, 6-of-11 three-pointers) and Shawn Long (16 points, 15 boards) were valiant for the visitors.
Adelaide shook off two early Goulding threes to take command of the first stanza, with Randle and Johnson getting the scoreboard motoring.
Obi Kyei and co-captain Brendan Teys were a menace on defence, and Teys' lob to Harry Froling in the closing seconds saw this Sixers up at quarter-time.
With Johnson controlling the paint, Adelaide continued to fire in the second, nailing 17 of their first 23 attempts from the floor to vault ahead 40-27.
United looked untidy and off the boil before, out of nowhere, being sparked by eight quickfire point from unsung reserve Tohi Smith-Milner.
His alley-oop to Long to reduced the deficit to one point.
Ahead 53-48 at half-time, the Sixers extended their advantage to 12 points thanks largely to Griffin, who scored 12 for the quarter.
It included a vicious one-handed slam in the lane.
Goulding buried a triple on the three-quarter-time buzzer to make it 79-70, before nailing another early in the fourth.
But the 36ers, quarterbacked expertly by Randle, never looked like rolling over.
"We got decent looks but couldn't finish plays. We didn't disrupt the rhythm of their offence," Melbourne United coach Dean Vickerman said.
"It was a little bit of everything tonight."