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Melbourne United's Shawn Long
(Submitted File Photo/Courtesy of Melbourne United Basketball Club)

MCHS alum Long leads Melbourne United in scoring in loss

Melbourne United failed to get its offense going in Auckland on Sunday afternoon and fell to the New Zealand Breakers 90-68.
After struggling from deep in recent weeks, Melo Trimble scored a three-pointer on United’s first possession, but the Breakers came out strong to force Dean Vickerman to call a time-out halfway through the first quarter with New Zealand leading 16-9.
Another three-pointer from Trimble late in the quarter kept Melbourne within reach, trailing 26-18 at the first break.
An 8-2 start to the second quarter gave the Breakers a strong lead, but then United’s intensity lifted on both ends of the court as Trimble, Shawn Long and Chris Goulding got involved. When Long, a Morgan City High alum, drained a bucket over Rob Loe, the deficit was just 36-31 with 4:35 left on the clock.
New Zealand immediately responded with a 10-0 run to take a 46-35 lead into half time.
A Trimble-to-Long alley-oop got the second half underway.
Later, however, New Zealand’s Scotty Hopson drained four three pointers in the third quarter, and despite back-to-back Shea Ili buckets late in the quarter, United couldn’t make any inroads as it trailed 67-51 with a quarter remaining.
The fourth quarter was much the same as United’s offence simply couldn’t get going, while the Breakers made them pay on the other end.
New Zealand’s three-point shooting was on target. They connected on 14-of-27 (51%) of long-range attempts, while Melbourne could only muster 5-of-18 (27%).
Long finished with 18 points and four rebounds to lead United in scoring, while Trimble had 12 points, five assists, four rebounds and two steals.
Chris Goulding (13 points, four assists and three rebounds) also scored in double figures, while Ili (nine points and three rebounds) and Stanton Kidd (eight points, four rebounds and two steals) led the bench.
All New Zealand starters finished in double figures, led by Hopson (22 points and nine rebounds).
United (11-11) is in fourth place with a group on their tails for the final playoff spot.
Next up for Melbourne is an Australia Day game against the Kings in Sydney before heading home for the Australian Open Game against Perth at Melbourne Arena on Jan. 29.
Despite Sunday’s loss, $6,800 was donated by Tyrepower to Melbourne United’s fundraising efforts for the Victorian Bushfire Appeal & CFA, thanks to a pledge of $100 for every United point. The tally now stands well over $100,000.

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