JackJumpers bag double as Kings rule on Christmas

TASMANIA JackJumpers have won both their Round 12 fixtures during the Christmas period, with back-to-back National Basketball League (NBL) home successes on the menu. The JackJumpers took down the Illawarra Hawks by 27 points on Thursday, December 22, before having a big Boxing Day to roll the New Zealand Breakers by 11 points. Sydney Kings also had a memorable Christmas Day, winning the first ever NBL match on December 25, defeating arch rivals Melbourne United by 21 points.

In the 27-point victory over the Hawks, the JackJumpers had to fight back from a six-point quarter time deficit to roar to life in the second term. A massive 29-14 quarter resulted in the home team getting back on top at MyState Bank Arena, setting up a huge 87-60 triumph winning the last two quarters by 12 and six points respectively.

In an even team performance, Milton Doyle put up 14 points, eight rebounds, four assists ad three steals, while Josh Magette (12 points, six rebounds, five steals and four assists) and Jack McVeigh (15 points, three rebounds and two blocks) also had big nights out. Sam Froling (19 points, eight rebounds) was a lone hand on the scoring front for the Hawks, with Mangok Mathiang (10 points, five rebounds and four assists) the only other Hawk to notch up double-figure points.

On Boxing Day, the JackJumpers raced out to a 10-point lead against the Breakers to set up what would be a memorable 93-82 victory. Though the Breakers managed to break even for the rest of the game, that opening term would ultimately cost them in an 11-point defeat. Magette lead the way with 16 points, five rebounds, five steals and four assists, with Doyle (14 points, four assists and five steals) and McVeigh (13 points, five rebounds) busy again. Fabijan Krslovic helped out with 14 points and five rebounds off the bench in 18 minutes. Izayah Le’afa put up an impressive 21 points, as well as five assists, four rebounds and two steals for the Breakers, while Barry Brown Jr. (16 points, four rebounds and four assists) and Dererk Pardon (10 points, eight rebounds) were also busy.

Coming off a thrilling three-point win over Cairns Taipans just 48 hours earlier, Melbourne United had a forgettable 21-point defeat at the hands of reigning NBL champions, Sydney Kings. Sydney had United’s number from the first tip-off, piling on 28 points to 17 in the opening quarter, and while Melbourne did hit back in the second term, the Kings ran out the game stronger with a massive 55-point second half, storming away to a big 101-80 victory.

Xavier Cooks was unstoppable yet again as he surges towards a Most Valuable Player (MVP), knocking down nine of 15 for 24 points, while pulling in 11 rebounds and seven assists in another best on court performance. Jordan Hunter contributed 14 points and four rebounds in just 11 minutes off the bench, while Derrick Walton Jr was inaccurate from the field – missing all nine shots from two-point range – but finishing with 10 points, six assists and two rebounds. Rayjon Tucker provided resistance for the visitors with 31 points, five rebounds and three assists, while Isaac Humphries (16 points, seven rebounds and six blocks) tried hard all night.

In the earlier round win over the Taipans, United survived a fourth quarter comeback from the Snakes, leading by eight points at the last change before the visitors hit home hard with 27 points to 22. Tucker (27 points, eight rebounds) was the architect, with veteran Chris Goulding (19 points, four rebounds and three assists) and Tall Black Shea Ili (14 points, two rebounds) the key contributors. DJ Hogg picked up 20 points, five rebounds and three assists, with Tahjere McCall running hot with 21 points, seven rebounds and five assists off the bench.

Round 12 was a mixed bag for the South East Melbourne Phoenix who racked up a massive 27-point victory over Brisbane Bullets on the road, before falling to Adelaide 36ers by six points on Christmas Eve. Against the Bullets, Mitch Creek racked up 29 points and five rebounds, while Trey Kell III helped himself to 17 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, with the pair getting one-up on Boomers duo Nathan Sobey (31 points, four rebounds and three assists) and Aron Baynes (14 points, eight rebounds).

Missing a number of key players against the 36ers, the Phoenix could not have the same luck despite 24 points and five rebounds from Creek. Antonius Cleveland (13 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and five steals) did it all, with Daniel Johnson contributing 20 points and seven rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench.

In the final game of the round, Brisbane Bullets snapped a five-game losing streak to win their first game under new coach Greg Vanderjagt last night. The Bullets were able to welcome back some key players to help out in the victory, defeating Perth Wildcats in overtime by four points to finally get back on the winners’ list for the first time since December 1. Leading by 10 points heading into the final break it looked like a victory was on the cards, but the Wildcats clawed their way back level with a 29-19 final term to force overtime. Luckily for the home team, they won the first overtime period 10-6 to secure the 97-93 victory.

Sobey racked up a massive 30 points, nine assists and six rebounds in the victory, with Tanner Krebs returning and putting up 15 points and five rebounds. Baynes picked up a double-double himself with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Tyler Johnson also returned alongside Krebs to have a meaningful 34 minutes off the bench for a return of 11 points, five rebounds and four assists. Bryce Cotton did all he could in Perth’s sole Round 12 match, recording 30 points, six assists, four rebounds and two steals, while Luke Travers heped himself to a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds.

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