Round 16: Taipans fall to JackJumpers on Pinder's return
CQUniversity Cairns Taipans (77) lost to Tasmania JackJumpers (85)
Round 16 | Cairns Convention Centre
Next Game: Taipans at Phoenix, Wednesday 25 January 7:30pm AEST
The CQUniversity Cairns Taipans might have seen their six-game winning streak end at the expense of the Tasmania JackJumpers on Friday night, but Keanu Pinder successfully returned and they remain solid in second spot on the NBL table.
The JackJumpers arrived at the Cairns Convention Centre fresh off losing in Launceston to the South East Melbourne Phoenix on Wednesday night while the Snakes had won six straight all without superstar Keanu Pinder.
Pinder was back on Friday night but with the Taipans trying to consolidate second and the JackJumpers attempting to get back to the top four, there was plenty at stake for both teams.
The JackJumpers did go up 12 during the third quarter, but the Taipans fired back and were back in front with the first eight points of the fourth. They were still up three when DJ Hogg drained a three with four minutes to play.
However, the Snakes would not score again, the JackJumpers hit the last 10 points of the game including two three balls to Jack McVeigh and another to Milton Doyle to secure the crucial eight-point road win.
After a slow start, the Taipans responded to a timeout first with a triple from Shannon Scott. McCall then scored, DJ Hogg converted a three-point play and then a couple of buckets to the returning Pinder, including a dunk, saw the Taipans go up 15-8.
Tasmania responded with the next six points starting with a three-pointer from Jarrad Weeks before Cairns led 17-14 at quarter-time with a late score to Ben Ayre.
Sam Waardenburg and Doyle then traded threes, but the longer the half went the more the turnovers began to mount and the sloppier the play from both teams became.
In the end, Matt Kenyon scored Tasmania's last six points of the half to lead the game with 11 points on 4/5 shooting with the JackJumpers leading 34-30.
Tasmania made an impressive start to the second half beginning with scores to Josh Magette and Kelly. When Will Magnay scored his first points of the game and then Doyle added another bucket, they were out to an eight-point advantage.
That stretched to 12 on the back of three balls to Magette and Kenyon before the Taipans received a spark from Jonah Antonio. Despite not having scored since 10 points against Perth back on December 20, he came on and hit back-to-back threes for the Snakes.
However, the JackJumpers continued to have all the answers including long bombs from Magette and Sean Macdonald to keep them up 62-55 at three quarter-time.
Bul Kuol opened the fourth quarter with his second three of the game and then Hogg threw one down and suddenly it was a two-point ball game. That gave Hogg the confidence to drain a three and after just 83 seconds of the quarter, the Snakes were back in front.
After a Scott Roth timeout, Magette landed one from deep to return Tasmania to the lead and from there both teams kept trading blows with so much riding on the result.
Eventually just as Cairns were grabbing momentum up three after a huge Hogg three, McVeigh responded with two from deep of his own for the JackJumpers to back up three.
Magnay swatted a McCall layup with two minutes to go before Doyle landed another from long-range for the JackJumpers to go up six and they went on to win by eight.
Despite the loss, Cairns stays second in the NBL standings at 16-8 with a first loss of 2023.
Bul Kuol did all he could to try and spark the Taipans with 17 points, eight rebounds and two steals with DJ Hogg adding 17 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks.
Sam Waardenburg also had 13 points, Tahjere McCall 11 points, four rebounds and three assists, and the returning Keanu Pinder seven points and three boards in 20 minutes.
Jonah Antonio made a third quarter cameo for six points and three rebounds with two three-point bombs for Cairns while Shannon Scott finished with four points, six assists, four rebounds and three steals, and Ben Ayre two points.
Head Coach Adam Forde:
"Definitely in the first half we played to Tasmania's game plan and they did a hell of a job with it. They slowed us down, right, and then even at the end we didn’t score in the last four minutes, 50 seconds. Credit to Tassie because they took the wind out of our sails. We had a couple of little runs but for the most part even then we would get a little bit of a run on, Tassie did something to counter it whether it be defensively or on the offensive end, and it just seemed to be well timed for the momentum to shift back in their favour. That's one that we're going to need to work on."
Taipans Guard Tahjere McCall:
"It was a one possession game in the fourth quarter so I think we did good, but they just made the winning plays and we didn’t. As bad as we might have played in the first half offensively, at the end of the game it's winning time and it could have gone either way. They made the plays and we didn’t, but I think we handled their pressure well. It could have been better but we had a chance to win the game and we didn’t. That's more so what it came down to."