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GAME REPORT

JackJumpers Dig Deep to Stay Alive with Win in Adelaide

The Tasmania JackJumpers had to dig deep but they went on a scintillating 16-0 fourth-quarter run to overrun the Adelaide 36ers on Friday night for the 80-72 win to keep their NBL finals hopes alive.

The JackJumpers had six matches in their inaugural NBL season to go and were two games outside the top four coming into Friday's clash at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre so it was a must-win affair against the out of contention 36ers.

On the back of that, Tasmania came out firing racing to a 14-5 lead but Adelaide responded well fresh off beating an equally desperate South East Melbourne Phoenix on Sunday on the same floor.

After that nine-point deficit, Adelaide outscored Tasmania 54 points to 35 to be up 10 midway through the third quarter. The home team was still up six early in the fourth term and the JackJumpers had to find the answers.

They did so in the most spectacular fashion by scoring the next 16 points of the game to turn that six-point deficit into a 10-point lead before going on to win by eight.

It's a huge win for the JackJumpers to improve them to 13-10 on the season setting up a monstrous clash with the 14-7 Sydney Kings in Hobart on Sunday.

Josh Adams produced his career-best night in the NBL for Tasmania made up of 31 points, five rebounds and two assists on 11/17 shooting from the floor, 4/10 from downtown and 5/7 at the foul line.

Jack McVeigh put up 14 points, five boards, two assists and two steals against his original NBL team while Josh Magette finished with eight points and seven assists, and Fabijan Krslovic eight points and seven rebounds.

Tasmania coach Scott Roth put the win down to nothing but culture afterwards.

"I mentioned it to the guys after the game and to hold them to 10 points in the foruth quarter, our defence was much better so that was a big defensive quarter," Roth said. 

"We've said this all along since I've been here and that was a culture win. That's what teams do that believe in the culture and the character of the players, and you hold them accountable with them buying into everything you're doing. To me that was a culture win."

Daniel Johnson again top-scored for Adelaide with 16 points, three rebounds and three assists with Sunday Dech contributing 15 points and five boards, Todd Withers eight points and three boards, Tad Dufelmeier seven points, and Mitch McCarron seven points, eight assists, six rebounds and two steals.

Down the stretch, Adelaide coach CJ Bruton just felt that the discipline the JackJumpers showed to execute and following the plan was key to the final result.

"Then late in the game, we didn’t always stick to the game plan. In a timeout, I said something that we didn’t go and do and believe that if we play a certain way with a certain style for this game, which changes for the teams you play against," Bruton said. 

"We have a style of play but for this team we attack this team better this way than another way, and everyone feels good and in their groove so you let shoots fly a little bit more loosely. 

"You still have to go and get second efforts and challenge on the glass, and then on the defensive end Adams did what he does. 

"He's an elite player and he got on that right side of the floor where he likes to dominate, and did his thing by getting to the rim and keeping the scoreboard ticking over them. We knew what we needed to do to close out on that but weren’t able to do that."

It was Jack McVeigh's second return to his old home floor and he put on a show early for the JackJumpers. He hit a three to open the game's scoring before he capitalised on a sloppy 36ers backcourt turnover to throw it down over Kai Sotto and draw the foul.

That gave him Tasmania's first six points of the game and he then scored again as part of an 8-0 run that suddenly saw the JackJumpers lead 14-5 and they were finding the going far too easy for CJ Bruton's liking.

That soon changed after an Adelaide timeout with the home team coming out to hit eight of the next 11 points, but still the JackJumpers led 24-15 by quarter-time thanks to a triple from captain Clint Steindl.

Jarrad Weeks opened the second quarter by hitting his second three of the game already to stretch Tasmania's advantage to 12, but Todd Withers responded for Adelaide to begin a 7-0 run.

Sunday Dech then got rolling with some good finishing taking it to the basket as he went on an individual run of seven consecutive points to help Adelaide tie scores up. Mojave King then soon hit from deep as well to put Adelaide in front for the first time.

The Sixers maintained a 43-41 half-time edge and despite taking nine fewer field goals, they were going at 55 per cent in the half opposed to 42 from Tasmania who also struggled for 5/17 from beyond the arc with Adelaide managing 5/11.

The Sixers stretched that lead out to six to open the second half and they were able to keep the JackJumpers without a field goal for more than four minutes with the lead getting out to seven.

Tasmania finally got a field goal thanks to Magette and then McVeigh drained another open three. The 36ers had some momentum building, though, and went on another run of eight capped by a Tad Dufelmeier shot from downtown to open a game-high 10-point edge.

The JackJumpers had to dig deep and closed the quarter with and-one plays from MiKyle McIntosh and Adams, and then an Adams three-pointer brought the three quarter-time deficit back to four.

Adelaide was still up six early in the fourth but then consecutive three-pointers from Adams and McVeigh levelled up scores.

The JackJumpers went on with the job in remarkable fashion. Adams hit another three, scored again inside, Krslovic scored down low too and then the dagger blow came with Magette's first three-point make of the night.

That gave Tasmania the 10-point lead after a 16-0 run with two minutes to play and they went on to secure the critical eight-point win.

Both teams play again on Sunday in Round 18 of the NBL with the 36ers travelling to Brisbane to play the Bullets. The JackJumpers could very well be taking part in the biggest ever game in their history now on Sunday up against the Sydney Kings at MyState Bank Arena.

HUNGRY JACK'S NBL ROUND 18

ADELAIDE 36ERS 72 (Johnson 16, Dech 15, Withers 8)

TASMANIA JACKJUMPERS 80 (Adams 31, McVeigh 14, Krslovic 8, Magette 8) 

BOX SCORE

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