Tigers cruise to vic­tory over the Cairns Taipans

Townsville Bulletin - - Sport -

THE Melbourne Tigers re­turned to the NBL win­ners’ list with an easy 106-94 vic­tory over Cairns last night.

Melbourne never trailed and led by as many as 24 points in the fourth quar­ter be­fore eas­ing up late in the game.

Dave Thomas led the way with 26 points and seven re­bounds and Chris An­stey added 20 points.

Kevin Owens bat­tled well for Cairns with 25 points and Aaron Grabau had 15.

Thomas, who had been trou­bled by a back in­jury, set up the win.

He scored 14 points in the first quar­ter to help the Tigers es­tab­lish a match­win­ning lead.

They were able to con­tain Martin Cat t a l i n i , t h e league’s sec­ond high­est scorer, lim­it­ing him to just 13 points.

David Stiff con­trolled Cat­tal­ini and added 13 points in a fine all-round dis­play.

Melbourne coach Al Westover was pleased with his team’s fo­cus af­ter they dropped a mid-week clash with the South Dragons.

‘‘It was very im­por­tant for us to win tonight,’’ Westover said last night.

‘‘You have to bounce back. We are happy with the win as Cairns is a good team.

‘‘Our shoot­ing was a bet­ter tonight.

‘‘We hit 11-of-22 three­p­oint­ers and their zone didn’t work against us.’’

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Taipans coach Alan Black said his team’s slow start al­lowed Melbourne to con­trol the game.

‘‘Our slow start al­lowed the Tigers to set the pace of the game,’’ Black said.

‘‘They slowed the game down, that’s their game and they love it.’’

Black said he would ask the NBL to look into an in­ci­dent be­tween An­stey and Grabau just be­fore half­time.

Grabau went down hold­ing his jaw but he played out the re­main­der of the game with­out any ap­par­ent dis­com­fort.

MELBOURNE TIGERS 106 (D Thomas 26 C An­stey 20 S Hoare 14) d CAIRNS TAIPANS 94 (K Owens 25 A Grabau 15 M Cat­tal­ini 13) at State Net­ball and Hockey Cen­tre, Melbourne. Crowd: 2990.

• The Sin­ga­pore Slingers have won the bat­tle be­tween the NBL’s two over­seas clubs, de­feat­ing the New Zealand Break­ers 109-96 at the New­cas­tle En­ter­tain­ment Cen­tre last night.

It was a home­com­ing of s o r t s f o r some o f t h e Slingers, with five of their play­ers hav­ing been a part of the New­cas­tle-based Hunter Pi­rates fran­chise, whom the Slingers re­placed at the start of this sea­son.

For­mer Syd­ney King Ben Knight had 21 first-half points to help open up an 11-point half­time lead for the Asian-based club and they were never headed.

SIN­GA­PORE SLINGERS 109 (B Knight 28 M Helms 29 B Mel­meth 17) d NEW ZEALAND BREAK­ERS 96 (C Pow­ell 33 B Wethers 18 O Fore­man 16) at New­cas­tle En­ter­tain­ment Cen­tre.

COP THAT . . . Cairns coach Alan Black will ask the NBL to in­ves­ti­gate this clash be­tween

Taipan Aaron Grabau, left, and Melbourne’s Chris An­stey last night in Melbourne

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