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Phoenix end JackJumpers’ NBL run at four

South East Melbourne have made it two-from-two over NBL newcomers Tasmania this season with an 83-71 victory at John Cain Arena.

Tasmania (6-7) entered the contest on a four-game win streak but missing big man Will Magnay to knee issues, and the Phoenix capitalised.

They dominated the interior, scoring 44 of their total points in the painted area.

Chinese import Zhou Qi finished with 11 points and seven boards, while fellow centre Brandon Ashley had 10 off the bench to hand the Phoenix (8-4) their eighth win of the season and keep them on par with cross town rivals United and championship contenders Perth.

Ryan Broekhoff kept the scoreboard ticking in the first half as his side struggled from deep, collectively shooting 0-8 in the opening stanza as Tasmania led 40-38 at the break.

But after going 8-16 from long range in the opening terms, Tasmania’s three-pointers dried up in the second half as the Phoenix forced them into tough contested looks on the inside.

The visitors got within two baskets down the stretch but Mitch Creek found his shooting touch late to hand Tasmania their seventh loss of the season.

“I just thought from a defensive standpoint we were we were pretty solid, still room to improve but the wins they’ve been putting together and the way they’ve done it – we took them out of what they had been doing in those wins,” Phoenix coach Simon Mitchell said.

“We were really interior-orientated today and I thought that worked for us.

“Obviously with Magnay not being there to protect the rim it was a real huge bonus for us. So we attacked that and yeah, those things worked out for us.”

JackJumpers coach Scott Roth said he was proud of the grit his players showed and their fight to stay in the contest late.

“The third quarter hurt us a little bit with some makeable shots around the rim and some shots that didn’t go in, but that’s life on the road,” he said.

“And I thought our defence was relatively good for the most part, leaving us a chance to be in the game and we weren’t shooting that well.

“It’s a hell of a run we’ve had for the last three or four weeks and really proud of the group and we just turn the page and move on.”

Josh Adams top-scored for Tasmania with 23 points on 7-18 from the field with Josh Magette the only other JackJumper in double figures with 10 points.

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