Basketball: Taipans finally get first ANBL win

Taipans players talk during the round four NBL match against Melbourne United. Photo / Getty Images
Taipans players talk during the round four NBL match against Melbourne United. Photo / Getty Images

The Cairns Taipans have finally opened their NBL account for the season with a thrilling 83-76 win over Melbourne United at the Snake Pit.

The Snakes entered the round four clash with a 0-3 start on the road but a huge night from import point guard Travis Trice got them over the line at home.

Trice was a man possessed with 28 points and two assists displaying confidence not yet seen from the Michigan State Alumni.

Time and time again the guard penetrated Melbourne's paint and was frustrating United so much he earned a shove in the back from import Ramon Moore in the dying stages.

Taipans Coach Aaron Fearne had criticised Trice during Cairns' poor start but was more than happy with the Americans response.

"Tonight he was great he made some huge plays down the stretch; he played with emotion and energy and so did the team, that is what I want" he said.

Melbourne started the night strong and jumped out to a six-point lead halfway through the first quarter until the defensive tenacity of the desperate Taipans kicked in to overtake them in the second.

Cairns followed on to find themselves up by as much as 16 points in the third quarter but the class of their opposition continued to make a game of it.

United centre Majok Majok threw down two huge jams to start the fourth, sparking a run to get the visitors to within one point with five minutes left to play.

Clutch threes from Cam Gliddon, Mark Worthington and Fuquan Edwin gave Cairns some breathing room and Trice's constant attacking raids made sure of the result from there.

Melbourne's Ramon Moore filled in for missing Boomer Chris Goulding admirably, shooting for 15 points from 12 attempts but Devon Williams found himself on four fouls early in the final period.

Taipans veteran Alex Loughton was ruled out the day before the match with a sprained thumb but Stephen Weigh provided ample cover with two triples in his best game back since off-season surgery.

Nathan Jawai was quiet in his first game back in Cairns, scoring seven points in 20 minutes.

United are now 3-4 this season, Coach Dean Demopoulos saying his team are still searching for the right chemistry.

"I'm not sure.

It's a process, but I like this team. They work hard everyday and we have the potential to be a great basketball team, but we weren't tonight" he said.

Cairns will play the Illawarra Hawks in Wollongong on Sunday while Melbourne will have to lick their wounds until they play New Zealand next Friday.

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