Aam Aadmi2 minute reading
Chris Goulding drained a season-high seven three-pointers to lead NBL ladder leaders Melbourne United to a 96-84 win over the Illawarra Hawks.
Melbourne, without injured guards Ian Clarke (hamstring) and Matthew Dellavedova (concussion) on Sunday, had a first-half scare when Luke Travers was forced off with a knock on his left knee.
It came as visitors Illawarra went 10 points clear in a high-scoring first half at John Cain Arena.
But the hot hand of United captain Goulding kept his side in the match as he fired 21 first-half points, including five first-half points.
Goulding finished with 33 points, including seven triples – more than any other player this season – as United’s tough second-half defense carried them home.
Shea Ily (17 points) and Tanner Krebs (14) also reached double figures for Melbourne.
The result extended United’s winning streak to six games and an 8–1 record at the top of the ladder.
Import forward Gary Clark (24 points) and Justin Robinson (20) tried to lift the Illawarra, but Tyler Harvey could only manage 10 points, three days after his clutch three-pointer sealed a thrilling win over Cairns.
After a sluggish start, United committed five turnovers in the first period and trailed at quarter-time for the first time this season.
Clarke’s eight points on accurate shooting gave the Illawarra a 29-24 lead at the time.
His tally rose to 16 at the main break and the Hawks’ lead reached double figures after United temporarily lost Travers to injury.
But Golding fired back to lead United 52-51 at the break.
Defense was key as both sides tightened up in the second half, with Melbourne holding the visitors to just 15 points in the final stages.
Travers returned after half-time, finishing with six points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Ariel Huckporty held his spot in Melbourne’s starting five ahead of Joe Luval-Aguil Jr. and impressed with seven points and 10 rebounds, including four on the offensive end.
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