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Goulding lights up United



A starring performance from Melbourne United star Chris Goulding has helped ladder leaders Melbourne United to a convincing 99-91 win over Perth Wildcats at RAC Arena on Thursday night.


The result served as a statement for both the Wildcats and the wider competition, beating the reigning champions on their home court in a game they controlled from start to finish.


Goulding (26 points) ignited his team early, while centre Jock Landale (19 points and 7 rebounds) was energetic in an absorbing battle with John Mooney inside the paint.


The 22-year-old, who had become available after a stint with the New Orleans Pelicans in the NBA, started on the bench against United and was held scoreless in 12 minutes.


'He's a little rusty with quickness and ball handling but that will come," Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson said of the Boomers centre.


It was sweet revenge for United whose 11-game winning streak ended last week at the hands of the Wildcats in Melbourne.


League leaders United (23-6) have breathing room over the Wildcats (20-8), who started a brutal stretch of six games in 11 days on a sour note.


"We shot the ball well and making 15 three-pointers was huge," United coach Dean Vickerman said. "You need mental toughness to win in Perth."


Silencing the home crowd, Goulding nailed a trio of three-pointers to fuel United's early 15-point lead - the largest advantage by a visiting team in Perth this season.


A rattled Gleeson turned to Magnay, who struggled with United's aggressiveness and picked up two quick fouls.


But the Wildcats chipped away and Cotton nailed a three-pointer at the quarter-time buzzer to reduce the deficit to seven points.


Magnay, a defensive specialist, shook off a slow start with an emphatic rejection on Sam McDaniel much to the delight of a pumped-up crowd.


It ignited a furious run for the Wildcats who drew level before United rallied to lead 51-46 at halftime.


Goulding took over with five quick points in the middle of the third term as United had all the answers to lead 76-68 at the last break.


As they had all game, United scored at will and skipped out to a commanding 14-point lead before halting the Wildcats' late rally.


IMAGE: Herald Sun.