Taipans so close to breaking hoodoo
THEY blew their chance to run away with it early and when the moment came to strike late, the Taipans fired blanks.
In fact they did not fire at all, failing to put shots up on either offensive play in the final 26 seconds that could have stolen back the game from the Melbourne Tigers.
The Taipans lost 67-64, extending their amazingly poor record to 1-23 against the Tigers in Melbourne.
With ball in hand and down by one, the Taipans committed the most rookie-like of errors when they allowed the ball back into their own half from the inbound pass.
From that, Seth Scott nailed two free throws to extend the lead to three.
In reply the Taipans could not find an open shot and in the end Shane Edwards strangely chose to drive to the basket rather than launch a triple.
His only hope was of drawing the foul for a three-point play, but he never reached the rim and the Tigers got the victory in anticlimactic fashion.
"We were down by three and needed a three," Taipans coach Aaron Fearne said.
"There was some pretty stupid, not smart, basketball we played down the stretch there.
"I mean we had the ball and a chance to go ahead and turned it over."
The Taipans started far better than the hosts and had stretched out to a 13-point lead on the back of a confident Shane Edwards and some good close-to-the-rim combinations between Jamar Wilson and Brad Hill.
But with just one-of-10 from long range in the first half, they missed their chance to sail away.
Instead, a muddled final minute of the second quarter saw Melbourne scrape within five points.
When Chris Goulding opened the second half with a big bomb it sent the Taipans into panic mode and after a string of sloppy offensive plays from Cairns it was Melbourne who had an 11-point lead.
They won that quarter 24-14, their only superior quarter of the match, but it was enough to see them home.
"It was just a lack of consistency over four quarters. Ten up heading into the half became two straight after the Goulding three and they got belief and momentum from it," Fearne said.
"We fought back but we couldn't make the plays."
The Taipans sit seventh, only in front of struggling Adelaide, while the Tigers now have a sniff of fourth spot.
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To the hoop: Seth Scott was instrumental in Melbourne Tigers' defeat of Cairns Taipans. Picture: Wayne Ludbey