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R15 Report: Melbourne claim back-to-back wins over Cairns

First-placed Melbourne United notched its fifth straight win on Friday night, shooting past the Cairns Taipans 98-68 in front of a deafening crowd bathed in yellow Chemist Warehouse Heritage Round t-shirts. Hakim Warrick collected a game-high 19 points while Chris Goulding (18 points), Todd Blanchfield (16 points) and Stephen Holt (15 points) all took their chances to make open shots as Melbourne built its match-winning lead. Taipans captain Cameron Gliddon led his side with 15 points while Markel Starks scored 14 points and Mark Worthington added 11. The hosts led from the outset to build a commanding 16-point lead by half-time. But a dominant 26-11 third-quarter showing had Melbourne ahead by 31 at the final break to ensure the comfortable final margin. Warrick said his Melbourne United side was finding its form at a key time of the season. “We are starting to get our rhythm right at the time you are starting that stretch run [to the finals],” Warrick said. “Our confidence is really high and we have to build on it, not take a step back and continue to grow.” Taipans coach Aaron Fearne was matter-of-fact in his summary of the game. “We got outplayed,” he said. “The frustrating thing as a coach is that for the last five or six games we been very disruptive and made some teams look very ordinary, but this weekend Melbourne came in and made us look pretty ordinary.” “They got off to a fantastic start then hit a bubble after they came to our place and we ended their streak they went on a slide but he [Demopoulos] has done a great job to turn them back around.” One positive for the Taipans was 18-year old Australian Emus forward Jack White’s NBL debut, the Victorian today signing as a development player for the rest of the season. “With the uncertainty with Stevie Weigh right now we have bought someone in who is a talent moving forward,” Fearne said of the late-season roster development. “We have a chance to help him, expose him to the NBL and for five minutes he played tonight he didn’t look like a fish out of water.” Melbourne United plays the Adelaide 36ers in Adelaide this coming Friday night at 7.30pm while Cairns hosts New Zealand Breakers next Saturday night. Melbourne United 98 (Warrick 19, Goulding 18, Blanchfield 16) Cairns Taipans 68 (Gliddon 15, Starks 14, Worthington 11) @ State Netball and Hockey Centre, Melbourne, 15/01/16. BOX SCORE
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