Sixth straight NBL win for Melbourne Utd

Darren Snowdon
Despite a crowd mishap, Melo Trimble has led Melbourne United to a 108-94 NBL win over Brisbane

Undermanned Melbourne United have maintained their NBL momentum with a sixth consecutive victory, beating the Brisbane Bullets 108-94.

Third-placed United improved their win-loss record to 7-4, despite being without regulars Casey Prather (back) and Alex Pledger (ankle) and being pushed all the way by a determined Bullets outfit.

Melo Trimble scored 25 points for the home side, including a clutch three-pointer in the final minutes to put the result beyond doubt, while reserve big man Tohi Smith-Milner added a career-high 19 points.

With Jo Lual Acuil producing an 11-point, 13-rebound double-double, United enjoyed a 42-28 advantage in bench points.

"It's probably the best performance that we've had (from the bench) all season by far," United coach Dean Vickerman said.

Both teams were on target from long range in an even first half but a 20-8 start to the third quarter put United in the box seat, with Smith-Milner making a major impact off the bench.

Jason Cadee connected on five three-pointers to lead the fifth-placed Bullets (5-6) with 18 points while Nathan Sobey added 17.

Bullets coach Andrej Lemanis felt his side played with good energy and shot the ball well but their finishing close to the basket let them down.

"We had some stuff at the rim that we missed for whatever reason," Lemanis said.

"That's the game right there - if we make a couple more lay ups, perhaps it's a different story."

McCarron handed United the ideal start with eight early points but the Bullets relied on 13 bench points, including a pair of triples from Cam Gliddon, to have the scores locked at 27-27 after the first quarter.

Cadee opened the second period with a run of six points to hand the Bullets their largest lead of the game then added two more three-pointers as the visitors looked ready to pounce.

But Trimble responded for the home side with a 12-point spurt of his own and, with support from Dillon Stith, United grabbed a 49-48 edge at halftime.

With Shawn Long struggling to make an impact under the basket, Smith-Milner came up big on offence for United as they surged ahead 69-56.

Lamar Patterson showed signs of life for Brisbane after missing eight of his nine first-half shots but Smith-Milner capped a stellar third term with a triple on the buzzer for an 81-72 lead.

Things tightened up again as Brisbane cut the gap to two early in the final quarter but United broke their resistance as David Barlow's three-pointer extended their lead to nine before back-to-back triples from Trimble and Goulding secured the win.