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Goulding goes down in United win

Chris Goulding left the court with injury but his Melbourne United teammates stepped up to score a big win over Brisbane Bullets on Thursday night. Melbourne took an 11-point lead into the start of the final term at Hisense Arena but saw their Rio Olympic guard carried off after going over on his ankle early in the last term. He would not return. With their leading scorer sidelined, veterans Tai Wesley, Cedric Jackson, Ramone Moore and David Andersen took over to hold off a fast-finishing Bullets and win a third-straight game. Former Melbourne star Daniel Kickert reminded the home fans of what he can do with an outstanding low post performance on his way to 23 points, despite his old club taking away his potent three-point shot. But Melbourne had too many weapons with Andersen’s 15 points leading the way, followed by 14 from Jackson, and 13s from Goulding and Moore. After the game, United coach Dean Demopoulos said his veterans made sure of the win. “Our collective energy was really positive, it’s something we work on and today it worked for us,” Demopoulos said. “We absorbed the loss of Chris and kept going. [Moore] had a lot to do with it. “The funny thing in this game is most of the time I feel like we are going to do the right thing. “These guys are pretty resilient. Chris is a pretty resilient guy and I think he is playing wonderful basketball for us, winning basketball and a bunch of guys are doing that. “Hopefully we can continue it, we are a work in progress but we are progressing I think.” Bullets coach Andrej Lemanis said the second term cost his side the game. “I think we are still a new team who hasn’t played together before and, as a result, when things are going against us we still haven’t found our identity to stop the momentum before it gets out of control,” Lemanis said. “If you look at the stats sheet there is a lot of things we did well. But it was compounded by the second quarter. The only quarter we lost, we got smashed in. “That’s the one we have to work our way through, whether that’s me having to do my job and get us organised into some set plays. “We are finding our way as a team to hold the fort while we get the game back under control.” Kickert was the go-to man for the Bullets from the tip but neither offence was convincing, and before quarter time both coaches had worked through 10 players, looking for good performers, as the Bullets took a 16-12 lead into the first break. Melbourne’s starters brought more intensity in the second term as Chris Goulding’s crossover forced Torrey Craig to slip over, leaving the Boomers’ star to drill an open three and grab the lead. The home side’s defence was lifting by the moment and their lead went with it as Goulding’s assist set up Moore for a three-point play and a 25-18 lead. Goulding and Beal traded three-pointers but otherwise United’s defence was keeping the Bullets at bay while a host of Goulding’s teammates found the basket building a double figure lead. Andersen had his hands in the air after a three-pointer just before the half as a 29-10 second term saw Melbourne up 41-26 at the break. The veteran Aussie continued where he left off with early points to start the third term, but Melbourne’s offence slowed due to fouls and turnovers, while the Bullets’ couldn’t take full advantage as they cut the lead to 57-46 at three-quarter time. Melbourne faced a horror start to the final term when Goulding went down with a nasty ankle injury and needed help leaving the court. The Bullets sniffed their moment and cut the lead under 10 points through Kickert and Bairstow, but Wesley and his fellow veterans took over at both ends in a key home win. The Bullets fly home to host New Zealand on Saturday night while Melbourne United hosts the Wildcats at Hisense Arena on Sunday at 3pm.   MELBOURNE UNITED 78 (Andersen 15, Moore 15, Jackson 14) BRISBANE BULLETS 70 (Kickert 23, Bairstow 15, Beal 8) BOX SCORE
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