JackJumpers upset Taipans to earn NBL semifinal berth

Tasmania JackJumpers are through to the NBL semifinals for a second straight season after stunning Cairns Taipans 87-79 on their home floor to set up a three-game series with New Zealand Breakers.

In a third versus fourth matchup, the Taipans and their home crowd were left astonished as Milton Doyle and Isaac White combined to thwart two comebacks and hold on for another trip to the final four in their second year in the NBL.

Doyle's 25 points included 5-10 from three-point range, to go with four rebounds and three steals while White tallied 18 points on 70 per cent shooting, scoring vital buckets at pivotal areas of the game.

Just as the Taipans fought their way back into Thursday night's contest, Doyle responded and White's efficient shooting silenced the packed Cairns Convention Centre.

The Taipans shot a dismal 22 per cent from three-point range and struggled offensively for the majority of the opening half, finally finding their feet in the third quarter before Doyle and White took over.

Just days after earning All-NBL first team honours, Doyle hit a dagger three-pointer over DJ Hogg to put his side up 11 with one minute on the clock and the JackJumpers held on.

Tasmania will now face the Breakers in a semi-finals series beginning next week and Cairns have one more chance in the playoffs in a do-or-die clash with Perth on Sunday, after the Wildcats triumphed 106-99 over South East Melbourne earlier on Thursday.

Cairns had hit just eight of their 26 attempts at quarter time while Tasmania had 11 less shots, hitting eight at 53 per cent, for a 25-16 first-term lead.

The JackJumpers outscored Cairns 16-9 from the midway point of the first to the end of the quarter and their lead would grow to as high as 13 in the second when White finished at the rim plus the foul, forcing Adam Forde into a timeout.

Cairns rallied as Tahjere McCall put his side on his back around the rim and not long later the margin was just four as Scott Roth sat his players down.

Doyle's defensive heads-up play led to a Rashard Kelly dunk and Tasmania enjoyed a nine-point buffer at the main break.

The first-half differences were apparent offensively; Cairns pushing the pace but stuggling while Roth's side shared the ball and made extra passes for open looks.

That changed early in the third term with Tasmania's ball movement drying up and Cairns distributing the ball effectively.

Midway through the third quarter the lead was erased completely as Bul Kuol's free throw put the Taipans up by one.

But Tasmania went straight back to their main man in Doyle and his side finished the quarter with a flourish, scoring 13 of the last 15 points in the term.

Cairns got within eight midway through the final quarter but the damage was done.