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Melbourne thump Townsville, score fourth-straight win

CTI Melbourne United scored their fourth-straight win to start the NBL season beating Townsville Crocs at Hisense Arena on Wednesday night.

Melbourne United beat the Crocs 93-62 as Daniel Kickert (22 points) and Stephen Holt (19 points) both had big first half performances when the home side took a match-winning advantage in the first half while Igor Hadziomerovic scored 12 points making the most of extended minutes.

Crocs shooter Clint Steindl stood up for his side in the second half scoring 14 of his 19 points while Jordair Jett and Mitch Young both scored eight points.

Melbourne United coach Dean Demopoulos said his side still had improvement to make on defence but he most pleased to give game time to his reserves in the final quarter as they played out the final 10 minutes.

“Townsville came to play but we got lucky and hit a bunch of shots early,” Demopoulos said.

“It’s a hard venue when you’ve got it going and I’ve been on the other side and it’s no fun.

“I was glad to get the opportunity to let the other guys play because sometimes there just isn’t enough minutes in a 40-minute game.

“These guys come every day and work hard and the payoff is game time and sometimes we can’t pay them off the way we would like to and the way they deserve.

“Tonight we did that and I’m really happy we did.”

Crocs coach Shawn Dennis was furious with his starters for allowing Melbourne United to make a big run in the first half.

“They are a fairly formidable side aren’t they - they make their open shots and we didn’t play very smart there at the beginning,” Dennis said.

“We went totally against what we talked about doing.

“They’ve shown in every one of their games that if you play into their hands they are going to hurt you.

“We’ve got a bit of soul searching to do - there is no excuse for that and to come out and play with such a lack of intensity was disappointing considering the way we have been going.”

Melbourne set to making their three-point shots from the start shooting five of eight from downtown to see the home side lead 25-13 at quarter time.

The home side kicked its offence into third gear in the second quarter extending their lead out to 25 points with Majok Majok had nine of 13 rebounds in the first half along with a monster a one-handed dunk as Melbourne United led 55-28 at half time.

 Steindl made three-straight threes but it barely made a dent in the home side’s lead as Chris Goulding made a stunning crossover and step back long ball over Brian Conklin’s outstretched hands.

With his side up 79-45 at three-quarter time, Demopoulos went to his reserves in the final term and they didn’t disappoint him.

Melbourne United host Cairns Taipans at Hisense Arena on Saturday night at 7.30pm while Townsville face Perth Wildcats at Perth Arena on Friday night at 9.30pm AEDT.

Melbourne United 93 (Kickert 22, Goulding 14, Hadziomerovic 12) Townsville Crocs 62 (Steindl 19, Jett 8, Young 8)

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