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NBL 2014/15 Round 7: Webster, Breakers shoot down Melbourne
Melbourne came into Vector Arena hanging on to a playoff spot by a thread and didn't help their situation by losing to the New Zealand Breakers 80-72. It was a game dominated by two players, one from either squad, but it was the supporting cast from NZ that swung the balance in the Kiwis favor, despite a late push from United.
Corey Webster was a force to be reckoned on the offensive end, raining what can only be described as hellfire from behind the arc. He went 6-8 from the three point line, but didn't offer much more from the field, going 7-14 from the floor. His 5-6 free-throw shooting rounded out his 25 points while he grabbed 4 boards, and chipped in a block and a steal. He turned the ball over 4 times however, which is made worse by the fact he only dished out one dime.
For Melbourne Jordan McRae provided efficiency at the line going 6-6 and behind the arc with 2-3, however he shared Websters inefficiency from the rest of the floor going 8-20 and finishing with 24 points. He also turned the ball over four times with only two assists, but his 6 boards, 2 steals and 1 block rounded out a good game. He's been one of United's best performers but he wasn't enough to win this one.
It wasn't a sure thing, though, as Melbourne managed to make the game interesting in the fourth quarter. It was a 10 point game as the fourth frame got underway but after some lapses by the Breakers they ended up within four points with just 26 seconds to go. McRae nailed all his free throws after Jackson fouled out on a foul behind the arc. Webster closed the game, making all four of his free-throws, and managed to avoid overtime.
The rocky final stretch definitely wasn't easy on Breakers fans:
Cedric Jackson and Ekene Ibekwe gave great efforts in the win, scoring 14 and 11 respectively. Jackson dished out 5 assists, stole the ball 2 times and blocked a shot. Mika Vukona didn't shoot the ball well, but he inhaled 9 boards, helped his teammates score 3 times and stole the ball twice, making for a solid line despite his scoring woes.
Only David Barlow broke double digits points besides McRae, scoring 11, but didn't offer much more to his squads effort. Worthington had a very similar game to Vukonas, shooting a miserable 2-8 from the field, however he snuck in 3 steals, a blocked shot and four boards to redeem his evening. It's fairly hard to win without multiple scoring efforts though, especially against a team as deep as the Breakers.
Melbourne will have a chance to pull back to .500 on the season when they play the top of the table Wildcats on Sunday, but if Perth perform to their current standard, this might be a tough weekend for the team.
New Zealand Breakers 80 (Webster 25, Jackson 14, Ibekwe 11)
Melbourne United 72 (McRae 24, Barlow 11, Kickert 9)
@ Vector Arena