Cairns have moved to third on the NBL ladder and ended their home-court hoodoo in emphatic style with a 97-72 win over Melbourne United thanks to a scoring blitz either side of halftime.
From the final two minutes of the second term to the end of the third quarter the Taipans outscored Melbourne 44-10 in an absolute onslaught at Cairns Entertainment Centre.
It began with an 8-0 run end to end the first half, Majok Deng finishing with his left hand craftily before Keanu Pinder and DJ Hogg rattled in three-pointers.
They began the second half on a 6-0 run, then when Melbourne finally scored the Taipans put another nine unanswered points past them to blow the margin out to 21.
Pinder found easy passage to the rim then the Snakes started moving the ball around the perimeter.
Bul Kuol, Hogg and Shannon Scott all registered trebles in the third quarter before Ben Ayre rubbed salt in Melbourne’s wounds by nailing a tough fadeaway jumper to end the term.
Cairns outscored United 30-10 in that period and held their opponents to their lowest-ever score through three terms (43) in the franchise’s 268 NBL games.
Their lead reached as high as 40 points in the fourth quarter as United’s turnover count got out of control, eventually finishing with 20 to Cairns’ nine.
The win marks Cairns’ first victory at home for the season and ends United’s unbeaten run on the road in the NBL.
Six Taipans players finished in double figures, with five of those notching successful three-point makes, Pinder recording 18 points and 11 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season.
Ayre was a standout at point guard and finished with a season-high 16 points on 3-8 from behind the arc.
“I just came out and played my role,” Ayre said.
“The bench guys, we know what we’ve got to do.
“I just always stand ready and trusted the guys in the room. I know they trust me, so just come out play my role – same thing every night.”
Kuol also had 18 points and Hogg added 17 as Cairns prevailed by 25 points.
It was not all smooth running on Friday as both teams struggled to get off the mark offensively in the opening term, shooting around 30 per cent.
Cairns tied their lowest opening quarter of the season with 15 points, matching their tally against United in their round four clash.
With little offering from behind the arc, United fed Isaac Humphries in the post when Pinder sat, utilising their big man’s size advantage in the paint.
Humphries’ dominance ended there as United were no match for Cairns’ shooting in the second stanza.