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United run rampant in Boxing Day NBL win

AAP logoAAP 26/12/2016

Melbourne United have catapulted into the NBL top four following an emphatic 97-59 win over the Brisbane Bullets.Inclement weather forced the Hisense Arena roof to be closed for the traditional open-air Boxing Day clash but the capacity crowd was treated to a dominant display at both ends from the home side. United hit 16 three-pointers on the night with four each to Chris Goulding (19 points) and reserve guard Nate Tomlinson while winning the rebound count 44-34 despite injuries to key big men David Andersen and Devin Williams.Casper Ware and Ramone Moore chipped in with 14 points apiece while new signing Josh Boone showed flashes of his athleticism and shot blocking ability in his NBL debut.Dealing with the loss of star forward Cam Bairstow to a season-ending knee injury, Brisbane struggled offensively after the first quarter and committed twice as many turnovers (14-7) as the home side.A fast start from former United forward Daniel Kickert saw the visitors take an early eight point lead until Goulding and Ware triggered a 7-0 scoring run for Melbourne. It took a Shaun Bruce triple on the buzzer to hand Brisbane a 24-21 lead after one quarter.Jermaine Beal's three-point play put Brisbane ahead by six early in the second term but United responded with 11 unanswered points and went into the main break up 44-37 thanks to Goulding's long bomb as time expired on the first half.United's hot shooting from long range increased the lead in the third quarter, Goulding and Nate Tomlinson each hitting a pair of triples. Down by 15 points at the final change, Brisbane could not muster a response as Melbourne scored the first ten points of the fourth quarter to end the contest.

Melbourne coach Dean Demopoulos was pleased with his team's response after losing to the Bullets in their last start.

"They (Brisbane) are in a similar situation that we were in ... dealing with some injuries," Demopoulos said.

"We had a good week of preparation and I think you saw the end result.

"Other than the roof not getting opened, it was a hell of a night."

Brisbane coach Andrej Lemanis found it difficult to relay his thoughts on the result after the match.

"That's a tough question to answer at the moment," said Lemanis. "Obviously, we are all stunned by the way it all unravelled."

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