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Fired-up Tasmania JackJumpers force Perth Wildcats to NBL decider

JackJumpers star Jordon Crawford fires up the crowd in game two of the NBL semi-final series at MyState Bank Arena in Hobart on Monday night.

JackJumpers star Jordon Crawford fires up the crowd in game two of the NBL semi-final series at MyState Bank Arena in Hobart on Monday night. Photo: Getty

Tasmania JackJumpers entered the game furious, but their composure led by Milton Doyle and Jack McVeigh has taken them to a 102-94 victory over Perth Wildcats and forced their playoffs series to a decider.

The Wildcats were attempting to close out the series in Hobart on Monday night and led by as many as 12 in the first half, but Doyle took charge in the third quarter with 15 points.

McVeigh (22 points), Majok Deng (18), Sean Macdonald (12, five assists) and Will Magnay (15 points, seven rebounds, four assists) all played pivotal roles as Tasmania outscored Perth 55 to 42 in the second half.

While the opening game in Perth was dramatic, with the home team finishing the better, tension built over the weekend.

An unsportsmanlike foul late in the game on Tasmania centre Marcus Lee became a one-game suspension by Sunday and the JackJumpers didn’t like how the situation unfolded.

There were 4340 at MyState Bank Arena to get behind their team and ‘welcome’ the Wildcats on Monday night, but Perth shook that off and took control with the first six points.

That lead was 11-4 when Bryce Cotton landed a three, with the visitors still up 29-21 after one on the back of 14 free throws to one.

Perth led 52-47 at half-time, but Tasmania hit the last five points –including a triple on the buzzer from captain Clint Steindl (seven) – to grab some momentum.

After superstar guards Cotton and Doyle combined for just 27 points on 7-of-28 shooting in the opening game, they starred this time around and put on quite the show.

Four-time MVP Cotton had 26 points for the Wildcats while Doyle fired up with those 15 third quarter points on his way to 24 and six rebounds with 4-of-9 from deep.

That helped the JackJumpers grab the lead as they wore the visitors down.

Another triple from Steindl with six minutes to play pushed Tasmania to a seven-point lead, Macdonald stretched it to nine and they went on to win by eight to force a decider.

The winner on Wednesday night in Perth will play the victor of game three between Melbourne United and Illawarra Hawks, who play on the same day.

-AAP

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