Tasmania JackJumpers close on NBL title after road win in Melbourne

Jack McVeigh late heroics sealed a thrilling win for Tasmania JackJumpers in game three of the NBL decider on Sunday.

Jack McVeigh late heroics sealed a thrilling win for Tasmania JackJumpers in game three of the NBL decider on Sunday. Photo: Getty

Tasmania JackJumpers are one win away from clinching a maiden NBL title after Jack McVeigh’s last-ditch three sealed a 93-91 upset of Melbourne United in game three of the championship series.

McVeigh put up a prayer from well behind the three-point line after Matthew Dellavedova turned over an in-bounds pass with just seconds left.

The shot rattled in, sparking wild scenes among the travelling contingent of JackJumpers fans in the 10,175-strong crowd at a sold-out John Cain Arena on Sunday.

The lead changed hands seven times in the frantic last three-and-a-half minutes before McVeigh settled the contest.

He finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds in a huge performance, with Majok Deng (15 points) also vital after stepping up when import centre Marcus Lee limped off with a leg injury.

Jordon Crawford and Milton Doyle scored 14 points each, while Dellavedova (21) and captain Chris Goulding (17) led United’s scoring.

Tasmania leads 2-1 in the best-of-five series, which returns to Hobart for game four on Thursday night.

If required, game five will be played in Melbourne next Sunday.

Restricted to its lowest-scoring half of the season at the back end of game two, Melbourne got off to a hot start back on its home court.

United skipped out to a 15-6 lead in the opening minutes when Goulding cashed in on a Doyle unsportsmanlike foul and Dellavedova drained a follow-up three.

The home side led 25-20 at quarter-time and Will Magnay was hit with a technical foul for flopping after front-on contact from Dellavedova early in the second term.

But the JackJumpers wouldn’t lie down, taking the lead for the first time in the shadows of half-time after successive threes from Doyle, whose tally of 11 first-half points was bettered only by Dellavedova (12).

After three misses, Goulding banked his first triple on the buzzer to give Melbourne a 44-43 half-time lead.

Tasmania temporarily lost its leading scorer when Doyle was benched after receiving his third and fourth fouls in the opening 80 seconds of the second half.

Lee had to be helped off late in a fiery third period, during which Goulding hit three triples to give United a 69-62 buffer turning for home.

A huge Ariel Hukporti jam over two opponents brought fans to their feet and set the tone for a gripping final quarter that went down to the wire.


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