Tom Jervis of the Brisbane Bullets tries to get through the Melbourne United defence on Saturday night.
Tom Jervis of the Brisbane Bullets tries to get through the Melbourne United defence on Saturday night.

Bullets hold on to beat Melbourne United

BRISBANE have survived a Chris Goulding three-quarter court Hail Mary attempt to claim a thrilling 87-85 victory over Melbourne United on the Gold Coast on Saturday night.

Goulding launched the long-ball to win the match as the buzzer expired and the ball hit the backboard and then the ring before falling out of the rim to hand Brisbane their second win from five matches while United slumped to their third loss of the year.

Brisbane had two shots of their own in the final 29 seconds to put the match away but they hung on in a character-building win just two days after a disappointing loss to New Zealand.

Stephen Holt top-scored for the Bullets with 17 points in a vastly improved offensive effort from the classy import while Travis Trice (13 points, three assists), Perrin Buford (13 points, four rebounds) and Shaun Bruce (13 points) were also to the fore for the Bullets.

Casey Prather was outstanding with 30 points for Melbourne while Goulding had 13 points and import Josh Boone had 12 points and 14 rebounds.

Melbourne United’s Chris Goulding after missing his buzzer shot.
Melbourne United’s Chris Goulding after missing his buzzer shot.

Brisbane led 73-57 at the last change after a dominant third term when they outscored United 27-13 with Bruce prominent in the surge with a significant burst off the bench.

Goulding picked up a very soft foul late in the third quarter for his fourth foul of the night as referees continued to frustrate players, coaches and fans alike with their whistle-happy approach to the 2017-18 NBL season.

But he stayed on court to help Melbourne close to within six points of the Bullets midway through the final quarter.

Brisbane were able to stem Melbourne's ominous momentum with a Trice three-pointer coming at a critical time but United came again in the dying minutes to get within two points with 29 seconds left on the clock.

Brisbane led by as many as 17 points midway through the second quarter but United powered home to reduce the Bullet's lead to 46-44 at halftime.

Brisbane made Melbourne pay for their mistakes in the first quarter with nine points from United's six turnovers on the way to a 21-15 lead at quarter-time.

Holt was like a new man as he led the charge for Brisbane offence with nine points from five shots as the Bullets ran plays for the import guard who has been quiet in the points column in his return to the NBL.

Apart from impacting the scoreboard, he added a nice assist and a steal before be picked up his second foul early in the second quarter when the Bullets went on a 10-4 tear to open the term.

Melbourne's offence looked clunky while Brisbane's defence had genuine focus and intent.

But the United machine with all their weapons could not be contained forever.

Stephen Holt in action for the Brisbane Bullets against Melbourne United on Saturday night.
Stephen Holt in action for the Brisbane Bullets against Melbourne United on Saturday night.

A 11-0 run late in the second quarter dragged Melbourne to within one point of Brisbane who were also guilty of fading defensively in the back-end of quarters in the loss to New Zealand on Thursday night.

United bench guard Kyle Adnam looks more at home on a Gold Coast beach but the blonde-haired bomber led the comeback for Melbourne with 10 points by halftime.

Melbourne were in front for the first time in a long time when Goulding hit a three-pointer 90 seconds into the third quarter.

But just when it looked like Brisbane were about to get swamped, they responded with seven unanswered points to kick and scream their way back in the contest.



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