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Vasiljevic, Kell star as Sixers down United

06 Jan
4 mins read

Written By

Dale Fletcher

Adelaide 36ers fans party like its 1999 after 100-96 success against NBL24 league leaders

Adelaide 36ers have celebrated the 25th anniversary of the 1998/99 NBL championship side with a 100-96 victory of league leaders Melbourne United at the Entertainment Centre on Saturday night.

The biggest ever home crowd of 9564 fans saw DJ Vasiljevic and Trey Kell combine for 54 points as the 36ers held off a fast-finishing United for the four-point success.

United fought back from a 15-point deficit in the fourth quarter to cut the margin to 91-87 before Kell stood up and hit a huge three-pointer with just over a minute to go.

Vasiljevic scored a game-high 30 points for the home side, while Kell added 24 points to go with 10 rebounds and five rebounds.

Isaac Humphries scored 16 points to go with seven rebounds and Jacob Wiley was huge in the second half for 12 points and six rebounds.

United were led by Tanner Krebs, who scored a team-high 23 points with six rebounds, while Chris Goulding added 13 points and Jo Lual-Acuil Jnr had a game-high 17 rebounds to go with seven points.

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Vasiljevic opened the scoring with a three-point play as he looked to attack the basket early, then Humphries scored inside and when Kell connected from downtown, Adelaide had a 10-3 lead.

The visitors responded straight away, United scoring inside through Lual-Acuil Jnr and Matthew Dellavedova, and when Ian Clark scored, Melbourne had their first lead of the game at 14-13.

Nick Marshall, who was promoted into the starting line-up, was given the tough assignment of guarding Goulding and held is on against the Olympic bronze medalist.

Vasiljevic continued to tick the 36ers scoreboard over, the two-time NBL champion scoring 15 points in the opening quarter as the home side took a 27-23 lead into the first break.

Kell started the second quarter with back-to-back baskets and when he swished a three-pointer, the 36ers had a 36-25 lead.

Humphries continued to attack the basket as the 36ers looked inside and turned up the defensive pressure as the Adelaide grew to 12 points.

Back-to-back triples from Krebs and Dellavedova but the lead to 44-38, Humphries kept scoring, with 10 in the opening 20 minutes, but a four-point play from Goulding to end the quarter cut the Adelaide lead to 46-42 at the main break.

United opened the third quarter with three-pointers from Goulding and Shea Ili to tie the game at 48-48 before Kell made an impact.

Kell connected on two consecutive triples and when Jason Cadee swished a three-pointer, Adelaide’s lead was back to 57-50.

The visitors cut the margin back to two points before Vasiljevic caught fire, swishing two three-pointers and three free throws and the 36ers lead was 68-59.

Wiley then made two huge plays, a big dunk followed by an acrobatic three-point play and when Marshall threw down a slam the 36ers took a 77-66 lead into the final 10 minutes.

Alex Starling scored on the opening play of the last quarter but United hit back through Ili and when Kyle Bowen connected from downtown, the 36ers lead was 79-71.

Wiley then brought the fans to their feet as Adelaide went on a 7-0 run to open up an 88-73 lead with five minutes to play.

United made one final push, the visitors scoring eight straight points to make it 88-81, but Goulding fouled out as the visitors stormed back into the contest and when Krebs dunked, Adelaide had a 91-87 lead.

Enter the Kell heroics and the 36ers hit some clutch free throws down the stretch to snap a two-game losing streak.

Adelaide will be back in action on Brett Maher Court this Thursday night when the 36ers host Sydney Kings from 7pm.

ADELAIDE 36ERS 100 (Vasiljevic 30, Kell 24, Humphries 16) def MELBOURNE UNITED 96 (Krebs 23, Goulding 13, Ili 12) at Adelaide Entertainment Centre.

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