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Melbourne Utd grind down Breakers in NBL

Melbourne United have recorded their first win of the NBL season with a thrilling 104-98 comeback victory over the New Zealand Breakers.

It took a 26-17 final quarter from the home side on Saturday to grind down the visitors at Melbourne Arena to ease the pressure on last season's grand finalists.

With centre Alex Pledger (illness) joining injured import Casey Prather on the sidelines, United relied on their star power with Shawn Long (27 points, 11 rebounds), Melo Trimble (24, six assists) and Chris Goulding (24, five three-pointers) steering the side home.

After three tight losses, United came up big in crunch time with Trimble's clutch free throws giving his side a 102-98 lead with 15 seconds to play. Long iced the game from the charity stripe after a missed three-pointer from New Zealand's NBL Next Star RJ Hampton.

"We talked about toughness during the week and I thought we put ourselves in some holes today," United coach Dean Vickerman said after his side found a way to win despite trailing for most of the night.

"I'm really pleased we found a way to tough it out."

Coming off their first win of the season against Illawarra, the Breakers led by 12 points in the second quarter with Brandon Ashley (24 points, seven rebounds) and Corey Webster (17) leading the way.

But New Zealand cooled off from three-point range in the second half as United roared home in the final quarter.

Breakers coach Dan Shamir praised his squad for their efforts over three quarters before fatigue and Ashley being fouled out worked against them.

"It always gets tough in the fourth quarter and we have to get better looks and stops and we didn't," Shamir said.

"We have to play better in those moments but I think we left everything on the floor tonight and it was not enough."

United stumbled out of the blocks as the Breakers opened the match shooting four-of-five from distance, Webster and Ashley each scoring 11 in the first quarter to build a 30-22 advantage.

New Zealand edged ahead 38-26 in the second quarter but Trimble took over with 13 points for the term to guide United to their first lead of the game at 46-45.

But Ashley replied immediately with another long bomb to help the Breakers to a 58-51 advantage at halftime.

A 17-7 start to the third stanza gave United hope, Goulding stepping into a three-pointer to put his side ahead 68-65, but the Breakers closed the quarter on a 14-7 run to take a three-point edge into the final term.

But United wore down their opponents in a tense fourth quarter to open their account for the season.