Melbourne United have snatched a thrilling 75-72 win over the Adelaide 36ers in the NBL clash between last season's grand finalists.
Veteran David Barlow was the hero for United with his late three-pointer proving the difference in a bruising encounter at Melbourne Arena.
With the scores tied at 72-72, Barlow nailed his shot with 70 seconds left and the defending champions held on to win after 36ers stars Nathan Sobey and Adris Deleon both missed game-tying shots in the final seconds.
With Chris Goulding and Casper Ware struggling on offence, Barlow finished with 15 points along with Josh Boone, who also added 16 rebounds and three blocks, while fellow import DJ Kennedy added 14 points on his home debut.
Boone felt that United took a step towards restoring the championship identity they forged last season in the victory.
"We weren't happy with ourselves in the first couple of weeks of this season," Boone said.
"We made it a point this week in practice to get back to our identity ... I don't feel that we have lived up to that until this point."
Sobey scored 17 of his team-high 19 points in the first half while import Jacob Wiley added 13 points for the 36ers.
"I don't think we lost it at the end, I thought we lost it in the middle part of the game when we had a chance to keep pushing," coach Joey Wright said after Adelaide gave up a 10-point lead in the second quarter.
United captain Goulding went scoreless through the opening half then left the court after copping an elbow from Anthony Drmic in the fourth quarter before returning in the final minutes.
With backcourt duo Sobey and Drmic attacking the basket, Adelaide built a handy advantage in the opening quarter while United were cold from outside until Kennedy's late triple cut the Sixers lead to four points.
The visitors surged again after Sobey nailed back-to-back triples to establish a 30-20 lead but United regrouped with 17-6 run to take the lead before Drmic's lay-up with four seconds remaining levelled the scores at halftime.
Goulding awoke from his slumber in the third quarter with two long bombs but Adelaide turned up the defensive pressure to hold the home side to a two-point lead heading into the final quarter.