Taipans produce late rally to defeat 36ers in NBL


American Tahjere McCall has dished out an NBL season-high 15 assists as Cairns overcame a late scare to run out 116-101 winners over the Adelaide 36ers.

The 36ers entered Saturday night’s match with steely determination following the mid-week sacking of coach CJ Bruton.

Adelaide hit the lead early in the final quarter, and they trailed by just four points with three minutes remaining.

But the wheels fell off dramatically from that point on as Cairns finished the match with a 15-4 run to secure victory.

McCall produced a standout display, complementing his 15 assists with 19 points and four steals.

Patrick Miller finished with 26 points for the Taipans, while Next Stars talent Bobi Klintman tallied 22 points in his best performance since arriving in Australia.

Dejan Vasiljevic did his best to inspire Adelaide with 30 points, while Isaac Humphries (22 points, nine rebounds) and Trey Kell (21 points, six assists) were also crucial for the home side.

McCall paid tribute to his teammates for his superb assists haul.

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“That’s not me. That’s the guys making a lot of shots,” McCall told ESPN.

“I’m just passing it to them and they were making the shots.”

The 36ers appointed club legend Scott Ninnis as interim coach this week after parting ways with CJ Bruton.

Ninnis would have been left scratching his head in disbelief after Cairns unleashed an unstoppable three-point masterclass in the opening term.

The Taipans nailed 9-of-13 from long range to take a 35-26 lead into the first break.

Swedish rising star Klintman, who is projected to be a top-20 pick in the next NBA draft, scored 14 points for the term in just over seven minutes of action, including 4-of-6 from long range.

Adelaide found their scoring groove in the second quarter, nailing 31 points for the term to reduce the margin to four points at halftime.

It marked the 12th game on the trot that Adelaide trailed at the main break.

Vasiljevic was inspired during the third term, scoring 11 points and producing intense defensive pressure to catapult his side into the lead.

Only a late bomb from Jonah Antonio ensured Cairns entered the three-quarter time break with a 85-84 lead.

Cairns big man Bul Kuol was called for an unsportsmanlike foul during the third term when he charged into the mid-riff of his opponent off the ball.

It was an arm wrestle during the early stages of the final quarter, but Adelaide went cold when it mattered most as they crashed to their second straight defeat.

Cairns nailed 15 of their 28 three-point attempts for the match, while Adelaide made only 5-of-22.

Adelaide (4-10) remain last on the ladder, while Cairns (6-8) are seventh.

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