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R9 Report: Melbourne survive furious Randle run

Jerome Randle’s last minute heroics made it exciting but Melbourne United held on for a vital 89-86 win over the Adelaide 36ers in front of a pulsating crowd of 9,399 people at Hisense Arena on Sunday. Melbourne held a nine-point lead with 1:46 to play and looked set for a comfortable win but the Sixers’ point guard had other ideas, using his rapid crossover dribbles to open up two three-point shots which combined with Anthony Petrie’s put-back dragged the visitors to within a point with eight seconds to play. Melbourne import Stephen Holt made two free throws to push the lead back to three points then Randle and Adam Gibson both had three-point shots which missed as Melbourne United escape three-point winners. Randle scored 15 of his 25 points in the final term while Chris Goulding scored 19 points to pace Melbourne United. Holt’s 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists were exceptional for Melbourne while Petrie’s 14 points and 13 rebounds made sure the Sixers kept in the contest. Melbourne coach Dean Demopoulos said his side had earned a “fine win” and would grow from the result. “It’s a very even league and we enjoy the competition,” Demopoulos said post-game. “We needed to score a few more points and we did that tonight. It was an important win for us and we needed to do that - it’s always good to build on positives.” Part of Randle’s late game antics was made a late step-back three-pointer in front of the Melbourne bench right in front of Demopoulos. “I almost put a hand up but didn’t want to get called for a foul,” Demopoulos joked. “He’s a great player, I don’t care how big or how little - he just has huge heart and has really added to that team.” While not landing the one that really mattered, Adelaide’s import said he was confident his last three would have found the bottom of the net. “It felt good, I was confident that it would go in but it didn’t go in,” Randle said. “It happens like that sometimes. We just waited too late to fight harder. “We are a fighting team, don’t count us out and you can quote me on that. Don’t count us out. “It’s a long season and I think we are going to pull it through - the best basketball is in the playoffs and that’s what we are pushing for right now.” Melbourne United (now 11-4) play Perth Wildcats at Perth Arena on Thursday night while the Sixers (7-8) visit Townsville Crocs at Townsville Entertainment Centre, also on Thursday night.   MELBOURNE UNITED 89 (Goulding 19, Majok 15, Holt 14, Warrick 14) ADELAIDE 36ERS 86 (Randle 25, Petrie 14, Ere 12, Gibson 12) BOX SCORE
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