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Holt the Hero in heart-stopper at Hisense

Stephen Holt made the hero shot and Majok Majok the game-saving block as CTI Melbourne United gave the Hisense Arena crowd two unforgettable plays in their win over the Perth Wildcats on Thursday night. With 13 seconds to play Wildcats veteran Shawn Redhage silenced the 4,822 supporters by nailing a three-pointer to put his side ahead 73-72 but then the Melbourne United duo stepped up in the moment that mattered. After having his number called in Melbourne’s time out, Holt took the inbounds play and powered to the basket with the left-hand dribble, contorting his body in the face of Matt Knight to finish with a right-hand floater with seven seconds remaining. Perth had no timeouts so had to bust up the floor with superstar Jermaine Beal driving to the basket only to be challenged by Majok who swatted down the shot, and maybe a portion of Beal’s arm, although the play was ruled a clean block. Todd Blanchfield made one of two free throws after being fouled gathering the blocked shot as Melbourne United escaped with the 75-73 win, taking their undefeated start to six matches. United shooter Chris Goulding scored a game-high 19 points, Holt finished with 15 points and Majok had 12 points and 12 rebounds. Matt Knight was a presence for the Wildcats all game with 17 points and 12 rebounds while Nathan Jawai had 13 points and eight rebounds, with Redhage scoring 12 points. Knight and Jawai dominated the glass as the Wildcats won the rebound count 52-28 but coach Trevor Gleeson said his side didn’t score enough points to capitalise on their rebound advantage. [ooyala code="93NjFoeDoqBPHAPpKizKAesr-1m1eUns" player_id="d5b993422b3e4b5ebd61f9e19ca2a6a5" width="1920" height="1080" auto="true"] “It was an arm-wrestle and I was disappointed after Shawn made that three we couldn’t carry it on,” Gleeson said post-game. “But that’s what happens when you have two strong teams going at it - it comes down to one possession. “It’s a big advantage [the rebounds], offensively we missed a lot of easy baskets at the start of the game, Nate had a fair few early on and when you play a top team like that it’s those little things that make a big difference.” Melbourne United coach Dean Demopoulos said he was happy for his players but knew they had to rebound better. “We were fortunate in a lot of ways, we could have lost that game very easily too,” Demopoulos said. “Give the guys credit, they dug in, won it on the last possession. “[On the last play] I just thought it was Stephen’s turn in that particular moment - I don’t know I liked the match up but I just like him with the ball. “Then Majok went up there and did a pretty good job, he has great timing and with a young player it’s really unusual.” Melbourne United played without NBA import Hakim Warrick who has a groin strain and is expected to miss this round and most likely next round. Import forward Garrett Jackson made his debut for Melbourne United as Warrick’s injury replacement and he’s expected to stay with the team until Warrick’s return. Gleeson also said Damian Martin was on a minutes restriction in his first game back from a calf injury while import Casey Prather is close to returning from injury but wasn’t fit enough to face Melbourne. The Wildcats face Illawarra Hawks in Perth on Saturday night at 6.30pm WA time while Melbourne United hosts Sydney Kings at Hisense Arena on Sunday at 3pm. Melbourne United 75 (Goulding 19, Holt 15, Majok 12) Perth Wildcats 73 (Knight 17, Jawai 13, Redhage 12)
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