Melbourne United created an upset in Nanjing on Wednesday night when they took out game one of their two-game series over the Jiangsu Dragons, 85 – 72.
Tai Wesley and Kyle Adnam held down the fort with Wesley dropping 28 points and 7 rebounds alongside Adnam who also added 25 points and 7 assists.
Wesley was on a straight and narrow path to dropping over 30 points before he was unexpectedly called for his fifth foul to rule him out half way through the fourth quarter.
“Yeah I was on three fouls, and then I took another and jumped to five and fouled out, so that was interesting” Wesley shared.
“But I think it worked out well for us, it gave room for Kyle and Majok to work their two-man game down the middle which helped give us that extra lift to win the game”.
Craig Moller was one of several who made his pre-season debut for the Club, showing his new team and a full stadium of Chinese fans just a sneak peak of his athleticism when he threw down an impossible alley-oop from Adnam. He finished up with 8 points and 6 rebounds.
Ballarat young-gun Sam Short was also notable in his first outing for Melbourne adding 8 points.
Having lost the series to Jiangsu Dragons last time Melbourne United visited China in 2014-15 the team knew the challenge that was ahead of them tonight, especially Head Coach Dean Vickerman who was pleased to see his side notch the win.
“Yeah it was tough. In two practices you can’t cover everything and we had some situations there that we had to deal with on the fly tonight”, Vickerman said.
“They had some strong post-men that needed to be doubled so we had to find some different strategies to deal with that one but I thought as the game went along the boys were in tune and worked together”.
Home-court advantage was certainly prevalent on the court, but the added challenge is what highlighted the resilience of the Melbourne United camp who dug deep in the fourth to take back the lead despite excessive foul trouble.
A terrific showcase for the basketball fans of Jiangsu Province, the score line stayed within just a few points for the duration of the contest before Melbourne pushed out ahead to close out the game late in the fourth. The final score was not reflective of how tight the contest was.
Looking ahead to game two on Friday night, the team will travel to Yancheng City tomorrow for some recovery and preparation of game two.