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WWAG NBL24 Match Recap - Round 20, Game 2 v Illawarra Hawks

18 Feb
3 mins read

Written By

Melbourne United Media

Melbourne United have finished the regular season with a win against the Illawarra Hawks

As Melbourne United came into their final home game of the regular season, the energy inside John Cain Arena was electric.

Before tip-off, the sold-out crowd showered retiring Australian basketball legend Brad Newley with cheers as entered the starting lineup for the special occasion.

Winning the opening tip, the 10,175 fans in attendance were brought to their feet, as Newley, as he has for his entire 20-year career, sliced towards the rim for a layup.

When he hit the bench, his teammates picked up where he left off, finding the bottom of the net from all over the court.

This helped fuel a 13-0 run to the home side, which allowed United to take a 23-17 lead into the first break.

While Melbourne were able to score with ease in the first period, the Hawks were able to lock in on defence in the second, limiting what the ladder leaders were able to produce.

Tanner Krebs and Flynn Cameron both found their range from beyond the arc, knocking down a pair of triples, while Ariel Hukporti skied high for an alley-oop slam.

A Shea Ili tough layup provided Melbourne with another highlight, however Illawarra found themselves in control of the game at half time, leading by four points.

Perhaps re-energised by the major break, United came out playing with force to start the third term.

Luke Travers got all the way to the hoop for a layup before Chris Goulding connected on his first pair of field goals, sinking a triple and a layup.

Looking to continue his strong outing, Ian Clark came back into the contest and immediately made an impact, getting into the paint and connecting on a pair of floaters.

This opened up Melbourne’s shooters, with Dellavedova and Goulding each cashing in from downtown.

This allowed United to inch back in front by two points with 10 minutes to play.

With the game up for grabs, Melbourne’s shooters locked in, eager not to allow the Hawks back into the contest.

United fired away, ultimately making five long-bombs to keep the scoreboard ticking along and keep the crowd on their feet.

The last of these three-pointers came with less than 20 seconds remaining, as Goulding connected on a corner three-ball to ice the game and give Melbourne their 20th win of the season.

Melbourne will now wait and see who they will be facing in the Semi-Final series, depending on who emerges from the Play-In Tournament.

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