Taipans bite dismantles United for second time

FOR the second time this season, Cairns Taipans found the recipe for success against Melbourne United, coming away with the 17-point win (95-78) in front of home fans. The Taipans showed they can be a dangerous proposition for any side having now handed the ladder leaders two of their four losses this season, while edging closer to fifth.

In an efficient shooting display, the Taipans had 16 less field goal attempts, but nailed four more in an impressive performance. Shooting at 53 per cent from the field – including a strong 45 per cent from beyond the arc (10 of 22) – they proved too accurate for a comparable inaccurate United, who only hit eight of 30 from beyond the arc, and finished with a shooting percentage of 37 overall.

Their offensive play is what really stood out for the Taipans, with Tahjere McCall picking up a whopping 10 assists en route to a double-double. In fact, the Snakes’ guard also finished his 32 minutes on court with a triple-double, managing 15 points and eight rebounds to go with his double-digit dimes. Considering United had a combined eight assists, McCall was crucial in picking up the win.

He was not alone though, with the Snakes challenged by the ladder leaders through the middle selections of the game and only taking a three-point lead into the final break. Luckily a 14-0 run in the final term helped get the home side over the line, in what was an even team effort from a scoring and defensive perspective.

Sam Mennenga got it done on both ends of the court, recording 22 points – including sinking six triples – alongside 11 rebounds, 10 of which came off the defensive basket. Also working hard across the board was Bul Kuol who collected five rebounds and four assists to go with a near 12 points and two steals. Then there was the top-scoring Patrick Miller who drained 31 points in the match – including 12 of 17 from the field – as well as finishing with five assists, three rebounds and two steals.

By contrast, it was a forgettable performance from the title favourites, whose efforts were undermined by poor shooting efficiency. Shea Ili (22 per cent), Matthew Dellavedova (25 per cent) and Luke Travers (30 per cent) all had nine or more field goal attempts but struggled, particularly from their usual long-range.

Perhaps the only one not struggling from long-range was skipper Chris Goulding, as CG43 went four of eight from downtown, half of his side’s triples in the match. He also picked up four rebounds, the same as Lual-Acuil and Dellavedova.

The playmakers such as Dellavedova could not get their usual flow on offence, and while Travers did get seven rebounds, there was not a lot that went right for the visitors. Ian Clark (14 points) coming off the bench was handy, as Lual-Acuil (15) and Goulding (14) were other prominent scores.

Melbourne United have until Thursday to regroup, taking on rivals Sydney Kings at Qudos Bank Arena on January 4, while Cairns Taipans make the trip down south to MyState Bank Arena to lock horns with the Tasmania JackJumpers.

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