McVeigh madness sends Tassie to brink of history

ON the biggest stage, Jack McVeigh delivered one of the biggest moments in National Basketball League (NBL) history, sinking a half-court shot to lead the Tasmania JackJumpers past Melbourne United to move within one game of the Championship.

With the game on the line, in the dying stages, McVeigh pulled up from 35 feet out to give Tasmania the lead in the greatest finish to an NBL match in the modern era. United could not answer down the other end in the short amount of time to get the JackJumpers to a two-point win in a game that will go down in the history books.

The result is huge in the context of the series, with game four set to take place at MyState Bank Arena on Thursday night, and after Tassie took a 2-1 lead on Sunday, the JackJumpers could claim the title at home in just a few days time.

Melbourne United (91) def. by Tasmania JackJumpers (93)

Coming over to John Cain Arena to take on United at home was always going to be tough for the JackJumpers, especially given Melbourne had not lost two in a row all season long, so an upset was going to be required.

United started the game on fire, jumping out to a 15-6 lead in the opening minutes of the clash. Tasmania looked rattled on both ends, unable to keep up defensively and allowing Melbourne’s big names to knock down some early shots. The JackJumpers settled as the game went on, but still trailed by five points at the first change.

Quarter number two started in poor fashion for the JackJumpers, with Will Magnay hit with a technical foul for flopping, as United firmed their lead. However, Tasmania would not go away, with Milton Doyle‘s 11 first-half points helping the visitors hit the front for the first time in the match on the eve of half time. It was short lived, with star sharpshooter Chris Goulding banking in a three-pointer as time expired in the first half to ensure Melbourne maintained a one-point lead.

The match was still looking positive for Melbourne in the third quarter, with Tasmania suffering some personnel issues coming out of half time. Doyle was benched for much of the period after picking up his third and fourth fouls in the first two minutes of the term, while Marcus Lee had to be helped off the court after sustaining another injury issue. Goulding’s presence from behind the arc continued to prove a thorn in Tasmania’s side, as Melbourne led 69-62 at the final change.

It was a gripping finish to the game, with the JackJumpers erasing the deficit in seemingly no time at all to ensure the lead changed hands multiple times. Both sides traded blows in terms of clutch shots down the stretch, a trend which started when Matthew Dellavedova knocked down a triple to give United the lead, before it was immediately answered by Doyle down the other end.

Dellavedova hit a lay-up to give his side a one-point lead in the final minute of the game, and Tasmania missed the go-ahead basket on multiple possessions, so had to begin playing the foul game. With just 8.1 seconds on the clock, Dellavedova tried to inbound the ball to Goulding, who was set upon by two Tasmania defenders, resulting in a turnover, with Doyle choosing to keep the ball in and finding McVeigh.

McVeigh dribbled the ball up the court with time winding down, and although his side only needed a two-pointer, pulled up from inside the NBL Championship Series logo with pressure from two United players, and drained the biggest shot in JackJumpers history. United ran out of time as Tasmania players stormed the court to celebrate a huge upset and a massive win in the context of the series.

McVeigh was not only the hero, but also delivered a strong performance throughout the entire match, posting a double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds. His shot would not have been possible if not for the injection of Majok Deng by Scott Roth in the fourth quarter when Lee went down. Deng poured in 15 points in the fourth quarter alone, and the ‘small ball’ lineup proved a match-winning adjustment.

The series will continue at John Cain Arena on Thursday night at 7:30pm.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments