Courtesy: Melbourne Tigers

The Melbourne Tigers overcame their opening game disappointment to defeat the Adelaide 36ers, 82-78, on Friday night and the Perth Wildcats, 84-79, at the National Basketball League’s ‘Top End Challenge’ pre-season tournament.

Melbourne vs Adelaide

Despite playing without the services of stars Chris Anstey and Sam Mackinnon against Adelaide, who sat out due to general soreness, Melbourne bounced back from their upset loss to Wollongong in the opening round to fend off the Sixers.

Nathan Crosswell scored 21 points and added four assists for the Tigers while Daniel Johnson added 18 points and nine rebounds.  Matt O’Hea chimed in with 15 points while Luke Kendall had nine points, seven rebounds and four assists.

Nathan Herbert led the 36ers with 21 points, shooting 8-of-15 from the field.  Tom Garlepp added 15, and three other Sixers scored in double-figures, but it still wasn’t enough.

A big first quarter from the 36ers saw them get out to a 26-14 lead with two minutes left in the opening stanza, however Melbourne clawed back to within single-figures by the end of the period, 28-21, as Daniel Johnson had nine for the quarter.

That changed in the second period as the Tigers came out of the huddle with a renewed intensity on defence. The Tigers went on a 7-0 run to open the quarter, leveling the game at 28-28.  The 36er’s struggled to stop the Tigers’ charge as Matt O’Hea scored eight points in the period, and when Nathan Crosswell converted a two with 21 seconds left in the half, Melbourne had established a commanding 12-point lead, 49-37.

Adelaide regained their compsore in the 3rd and brought the margin back to one, where it remained at the final break, as Melbourne took a 61-60 lead into the last change.

The final period saw both teams exchanging baskets but with neither able to gain the upper hand.  With just under five minutes to play the score was tied at 70 apiece, when David Cooper fouled Johnson and in the process copped an inadvertent elbow that required the 36ers big man to leave the court and get stitches to his eyebrow.

Following Cooper’s departure, a deuce each from O’Hea and Ryan Bathie and a pair of freebies from Crosswell fuelled a 6-0 Tiger run that had Adelaide in trouble, down 76-70.
Darren Ng nailed a three and Jacob Holmes a two to bring the Sixers back into the match, but after the team’s traded baskets for a short time the Tigers were able to seal the match at the free throw line, with Kendall and Crosswell each making a pair.

Click here for the box scores.

MELBOURNE TIGERS – Nathan Crosswell 21, Daniel Johnson 18, Matt O’Hea 15
ADELAIDE 36ERS – Nathan Herbert 21 points, Tom Garlepp 15, Darren Ng 12

Full match reports, live stats, boxscores and the tournament schedule can be accessed on

Melbourne vs Perth

The Melbourne Tigers sent the Perth Wildcats home winless from the Top End Challenge, beating them 84-79 on Saturday night.

The Tigers saw Chris Anstey and Sam MacKinnon back in there lineup after have a rest the day before in the Tiger’s win over Adelaide.  Anstey looked refreshed and got the Tigers off to a fast start with nine points in the first quarter. Perth also got their big man back as new recruit; 7’0 red head Luke Schenscher, saw his first action in a Wildcats’ uniform.  However he was ice cold in the first quarter, going 0-6 from the field.

At half time the Tigers went into the change rooms up 41-36.  Luke Kendall came to life and finished with thirteen at the half, courtesy of three triples.  Throughout the 2nd quarter Anstey continued to have an impact as he took his tally to 15 at the half. For the Wildcats, import Kevin Lisch was having a solid all round game with 4 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists and Schenscher scored his first point as a Cat but managed just 1-of-8 shooting.

The score remained close during the majority of the second half, with both teams trading baskets and with three minutes remaining in the team’s final game in the tournament, the Tigers held a three point lead.

Another new recruit Martin Cattilini had a tip in to get the Cats to back within one, but it was a Kendall three pointer that gave the Tigers a seven point margin with 80 seconds remaining.

Although the ‘Cats got it back to three in the dying seconds, Kendall calmly knocked down four free throws to ice the game for the Tigers. Kendall led all scorers with 25 while Anstey contributed 21 to the Tigers tally while veteran Cattilini was the top scorer with 19 for the Wildcats.

Click here for the box scores.

MELBOURNE TIGERS – Luke Kendall 25, Chris Anstey 21, Nathan Crosswell 10 points and 8 assists.
PERTH WILDCATS – Martin Cattilini 19, Kevin Lisch 15.

Full match reports, live stats, boxscores and the tournament schedule can be accessed on

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