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R8 Report: Melbourne set peculiar record in "revenge" win

It was far from the offensive spectacle fans are used to seeing but Melbourne United bounced back from three-consecutive losses in possibly the best way, defeating the Crocs 66-63 in Townsville. With just 43 field goal attempts on Thursday night Melbourne set an NBL record for fewest FGAs recorded by a team, but still managed to win. The streak-snapping victory was sweet redemption for United after being on the wrong end of one of the biggest upsets in years last week. "We wanted to come up here and we wanted revenge and tonight we were able to get it," Todd Blanchfield said post-game. "(Last game against Townsville) was fresh in our mind and we came in here, we prepared well. "We knew what sort of game it was going to be – it was going to be a grind – and we were able to come out with the win." The frugal visitors were led by sharpshooter Stephen Holt (20 points) and the skilled Hakim Warrick (15), while Chris Goulding (six) will be glad to see the back of The Swamp after netting a combined 13 points in his two visits this season. Townsville was paced by Clint Steindl's career-high 25 points, while Jordair Jett was big in the fourth quarter in his 17. The 24-23 first quarter kicked off with five-of-six made shots including a pretty Mitch Norton-to-Steindl alley-oop. But misses accumulated for the home side on the other side of the break as Brian Conklin's missed foul shots triggered five-straight Crocs misses. Holt tripled twice as Melbourne eked out a 6-0 run over the best part of four minutes, and the visitors were threatening a game-deciding run in the shadows of half-time. Daniel Kickert joined the three-point party and Warrick threw one down via Holt as Melbourne hit back with 10 unanswered points, going into the locker room up 42-32. Neither team could simply score enough to make a run in the third period as Townsville went without a point for almost seven minutes of game time. Melbourne was not spared from the offensive horror show either, getting just two points in the final 5:51 on separate trips to the foul line. The dour third-quarter display made way for a frantic fourth as Townsville mounted their patented charge to the finish line. Jett was everywhere on both ends, with a block and a steal complementing a quick-fire nine points – all in under two minutes – as Steindl kept Townsville in touch with two threes in the dying seconds. "Jordair's job on Chris Goulding was probably as good a defensive job as you are ever going to see," Shawn Dennis said. Melbourne got scores where they could in a 16-point quarter, with Warrick making the necessary plays down the stretch including a block on Jett as United were up five with under a minute remaining. Jett had a three-quarter-court buzzer beater to force overtime after Warrick made one-of-two at the foul line, but the prayer sailed right as Melbourne walked away with the year's strangest win. The Crocs are in action against the Hawks in Wollongong on Saturday, while Melbourne is scheduled on that same court next Thursday.   MELBOURNE UNITED 66 (Holt 20, Warrick 15, Kickert 9) TOWNSVILLE CROCODILES 63 (Steindl 25, Jett 17, Conklin 8) BOX SCORE
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