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Dogged Sixers bounce back in style

Adelaide 36ers put their defensive woes behind them as star point guard Jerome Randle led his team to an inspired 87-79 win over Melbourne United on Sunday. With a packed Hisense Arena crowd expecting a home win and questions being asked about the Sixers’ ability to hang with the rest of the NBL, Randle scored 30 points to put those queries to rest in an impressive win at Hisense Arena in front of 8,519 supporters. Randle wasn’t alone either as big man Daniel Johnson (17 points, seven rebounds), Brendan Teys (11 points) and Eric Jacobsen (11 points) found their offensive touch while banging fiercely at the defensive end. Cedric Jackson (15 points, seven assists) and Ramone Moore (15 points) were United's best while Todd Blanchfield added 11 points. Sixers coach Joey Wright said his side had trained on Saturday to fix their defence and it paid dividends. "It just shows the power of the mind," Wright said post-game. "We had a training on Saturday, normally we wouldn't do that but we didn't defend the way we should have. "They got here today, worked their butts off and played a fantastic game." Wright said Randle had regained his aggressive scorer's mentality in front of the Hisense Arena crowd. “We definitely had some conversations about him being aggressive,” Wright said. “Even if those shots aren’t going in we feel like we can clean up the boards. “I think he has to see he has to be that kind of guy, that’s why we brought him in and that’s what we are encouraging him to be." United coach Dean Demopoulos said his side's shooting would improve. “You have to go look at the shots we got, we took 38 threes and only made eight of them and there was only a handful of them I didn’t like,” Demopoulos said. “We had a lack of execution and a lack of movement when you see all the shots we got, I would take those shots again most of the time. “I hope we get the same shots next time we play.” Chris Goulding’s crossover and three-pointer had Brendan Teys losing his footing early on while Majok Majok’s power slam showed Melbourne fans his improvement this season, but the home side’s defence had no solution for the inspired Sixers. Randle’s first half was stunning as he attacked from the outside, looking to go to his pull-up jump shot or drive to the basket at every opportunity, knocking down 18 points in the first 20 minutes. When Randle wasn’t in attack mode, he was passing to big man Daniel Johnson who was keeping pace, scoring 15 points in the half including four of five three-pointers. Moore’s shooting and Cedric Jackson’s passing were keeping Melbourne in touch and a hot-streak from Moore helped drag the Sixers lead down from 15 points to 51-42 at half time. Jackson tried to keep his side in touch in the third but Johnson and fellow big man Eric Jacobsen continued to find the hoop while Brendan Teys and Anthony Drmic also hit jumpers as the Sixers led 73-58 at the three-quarter time. Goulding and Jackson looked to bring the home crowd into the game to start the final term as the Sixers’ shooting went cold, but an ominous block from Jacobsen slowed the home side’s run. With their offence slowed and Jackson looking to fire his team to victory, the Sixers’ defence was posed with fresh questions but the they answered them, even when Randle fouled out with two minutes to play. Melbourne United and Adelaide meet again, this time at Adelaide Arena, on Friday night.   ADELAIDE 36ERS 87 (Jerome Randle 30, Daniel Johnson 17, Brendan Teys 11, Eric Jacobsen 11) MELBOURNE UNITED 79 (Cedric Jackson 15, Ramone Moore 15, Todd Blanchfield 11) BOX SCORE
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