Taipans stay alive in finals race - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Taipans stay alive in finals race

05/02/2005 05:46:56 AM Comments (0)

The Taipans kept their slim finals chances alive with a comeback 98-96 NBL win over fellow playoff hopefuls the Hunter Pirates at Cairns.

Needing to keep winning to be any hope of a top eight finish, the Taipans fought back from 90-83 down with 4min:42sec remaining to level the scores at 96-96 with 1:13 left and didn't look back.

Cairns moved to 10th on the ladder at 10-18 - the same record as ninth placed West Sydney - while No.8 Hunter (12-15) slumped to its second straight loss.

A lousy 2-12 away record does not auger will for Hunter who must defeat the in-form Crocodiles - six straight wins - in Townsville to breath easier in the finals race.

The Taipans travel to Adelaide to face the 36ers on Sunday.

For Cairns, import centre Chris Burgess had 22 points and Melvin Thomas and skipper Anthony Stewart 17 each.

Hunter import and NBL leading scorer Brian Wethers bounced back from a quiet Wednesday night against West Sydney to hit a game-high 31 points - his seventh 30pt game of the season - while Ben Melmeth had 19 and Kavossy Franklin 17.

Despite Cairns shooting 52 per cent from the field, Melmeth's 15 points and a 14-8 rebounding advantage gave the Pirates a 26-25 lead at the first break.

Hunter began the second with a 12-5 run to jump to an eight point buffer before the lead changed hands then settled level at 52-52 at halftime.

In the third, a 10-0 Cairns run levelled the scores at 70-70 before a Wethers bucket and Gordie Cullen block ensured the Pirates held a 72-70 lead at the final break.

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