It was a packed house Tuesday night as the fans poured in to watch the Melbourne Tigers take on the Washington State University Cougars on Hugh McMenamin Court.  The pre-season game was one of two the Tigers will play this year at Kilsyth Sports Centre and made up the first of five games the Washington State Cougars will play around Australia as part of their international tour. 

Kilsyth Sports Centre reached capacity with 1600 fans in attendance for the highly anticipated match-up.  The teams put on a worthy performance on the floor, keeping the excitement high in the back and forth battle.  Going basket for basket in the first quarter, the Tigers began to edge away from the Cougars and scored five straight points in the last 43.3 seconds to take a 25-20 lead at quarter time.  With the momentum building, the Tigers extended their lead throughout the second quarter going on scoring runs to gain a 43-33 advantage at halftime. 

The Cougars stormed back after the half and put on the pressure to close the gap.  Behind the offence of Brisbane native Brock Motum, who put in 21 points on the night, Washington State scored the first seven points of the second half and found themselves back in the game.  With just 42 seconds remaining in the third period, the lead had shifted to the Cougars 56-53.  Neither team could establish a clear lead and while the Cougars had a 67-60 lead with just 3:50 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Tigers were able to quickly erase the margin.  Chris Goulding pushed the Tigers over the line after hitting a 3-pointer and then drawing a costly foul the next offensive possession while shooting another shot behind the arc.  Goulding went to the free throw line and converted on all three shots to put the Tigers up 72-71 with just 40.6 seconds to play.  Both teams were able to score on their next possession, bringing the game to 74-73.  It was Brock Motum who scored the final basket of the game off a rebound putback with 3.3 seconds remaining.  Motum’s basket put the Cougars ahead 75-74.  A timeout to the Tigers and a shot on the buzzer from Goudling was not enough as the visitors held on to record an exciting victory.

Motum’s 21 points led the Cougars in scoring followed by DaVonte Lacy’s 16 points.  The Tigers’ offence was paced by Chris Goulding who had 20 points, Nate Tomlinson with 14 points and Swinburne Kilsyth Cobras’ Auryn Macmillan who scored 12 points for the team.  Macmillan had a stand out performance for the squad with team high nine rebounds and six blocks. 

“Be it in a black, red or yellow jersey, playing in front of a packed house at Kilsyth always results in a great game.  The fans were fantastic and provided energy and excitement throughout all four quarters.  This was a great game to be a part of,” said Macmillan.

The Tigers will return to Kilsyth on the 31st of August 2012 to tip off against the Wollongong Hawks in another exhibition game before the start of the 2012-13 NBL season.  Keep up with all the upcoming action by visiting www.kilsythbasketball.com.au.  

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