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NBL23

36ers campaign ended in United loss

Dale Fletcher

4 February 2023

3 mins read

Adelaide 36ers NBL23 campaign came to an end after a 116-107 loss to Melbourne United at John Cain Arena on Sunday afternoon.

Chasing a 23-point victory to have a chance to qualify for the finals, the 36ers scored freely, but couldn’t contain United trio Rayjon Tucker, Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Chris Goulding.

The United trio combined for 75 of Melbourne’s 116 points as the home side took a nine-point win.

Antonius Cleveland almost lifted the visitors to victory by himself, the swingman scoring 30 points to go with six rebounds, while Sunday Dech added 20 points with four assists.

Kyrin Galloway got the starting nod for the first time in NBL23 and swished his opening triple as Adelaide attacked from the perimeter.

With both sides chasing big margins, it was the home side who caught fire early, connecting on four of their first five three-pointers to take an early 18-11 lead.

Adelaide responded late through some tough Ian Clark baskets and the 36ers hit five three-pointers in the first 10 minutes to tie the game 27-27 at quarter time.

Clark found Daniel Johnson under the hoop in the opening play of the second quarter as the 36ers took the lead for the first time in the contest on the back of a 9-0 run.

As the pace of the game decreased slightly, Antonius Cleveland got busy, scoring 14 first half points and when Franks connected from downtown, Adelaide had a 47-43 lead.

Rayjon Tucker was everywhere for the home side and sparked United throughout the opening 20 minutes, scoring 17 points in the first half.

Sunday Dech scored five consecutive points, Anthony Drmic ended up in the crowd after a desperate save and the 36ers took a 57-56 lead into the main break.

Offensive rebounding caused Adelaide concern throughout and the extra possessions United were getting sparked the home side as Melbourne built a 66-61 lead.

United got the home fans involved as the 36ers offense began to stall late in the third quarter.

Clark hit from deep three-point range to cut the United margin to one point, but Melbourne scored seven points in under a minute to build an 81-73 lead.

Johnson scored back-to-back baskets inside, but then received a technical foul as United took an 87-80 lead into the final 10 minutes.

Cleveland wowed the crowd with a thunderous poster dunk over Mason Peatling to open the final quarter and the three-point play sparked the visitors.

Dech was everywhere, hitting clutch shots and getting loose balls as Cleveland continued to be a spark, his three-pointer gave the 36ers the lead 93-91.

After Cleveland hit his fifth triple of the contest to give Adelaide a 96-93 lead, United fired back through Tucker, who connected on a triple to give United back the lead 100-98 with three minutes remaining.

Franks scored consecutive baskets but when Goulding hit a three-pointer after two offensive rebounds and Rathan-Mayes scored on a drive, United had the answers in the clutch.

MELBOURNE UNITED 116 (Tucker 31, Goulding 23, Rathan-Mayes 21) def ADELAIDE 36ERS 107 (Cleveland 30, Dech 20, Franks 13) at John Cain Arena.

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