May 16, 2024
Home » Travers & Delly shine in season opener

Photo: Melbourne United (Twitter / X)

Melbourne United has run away as victors in the NBL season 2023/24 opener versus city rivals South-East Melbourne Phoenix 82-67.

Luke Travers finished his first game with his new club with 20 points, eight rebounds, two assists, one steal and a block.

Both teams came into the game with depleted sides. For United, import guard Ian Clark and Jo Lual-Acuil missed the game, while Phoenix didn’t have Gary Browne (hip), Gorjok Gak and Alan Williams (knee).

The match started as a sloppy affair, typical of early-season basketball, but this doesn’t stop Phoenix and United from pilling on the points. Completing the first term with a 29-24 score in favour of Melbourne.

Matthew Dellavedova came out like a house on fire, with 12 points in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, nobody could hit a shot. One end to the other, rebound after rebound, the ball did not fall into the net for what felt like hours.

Ariel Hukporti would collect numerous rebounds in the term and would score a nice fadeaway jumper. He would crash the glass throughout the game, finishing with a whopping total of 14.

Former Melbourne United and Sydney King Craig Moller would hustle his way through the quarter. He collected four offensive rebounds in his first competitive regular season game in over a year.

Phoenix would only have nine points in the second quarter and they would not be able to recover for the rest of the game. They would lose the second half by only three points but the damage was done in the first 20 minutes.

Ben Ayre would be their shining light, starting in place of the injured Gary Browne, he would have a team-high 17 points in just under 30 minutes of game time.

MVP contender Mitch Creek would underperform, scoring only six points on 3/12 shooting from the field while new import Will Cummings would join him in the inefficient scoring, shooting 4/15 and 0/5 from beyond the arch.

Both teams will continue their season on Sunday, with United travelling to Adelaide (2pm AEDT) and Phoenix remaining at John Cain Arena as they face the Wildcats (4pm AEDT).

Top Scorers

Melbourne United

Luke Travers – 20 points, eight rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block

Matthew Dellavedova – 17 points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals

Ariel Hukporti – five points, 14 rebounds, one steal, three blocks

South-East Melbourne Phoenix

Ben Ayre – 17 points, two rebounds, one assist

Will Cummings – 14 points, three rebounds, three assists, three steals, one block

Tyler Cook – 12 points, seven rebounds, one assist, one block

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