Breakers hold off Crocs 73-71
Fri, 19 Oct 2012 11:37p.m.
The New Zealand Breakers held off fast-finishing Townsville to sneak home with a 73-71 win in Friday's third round Australian National Basketball League clash in Auckland.
Crocodiles import Gary Ervin finished with a game-high 21 points, exploding in the final quarter with eight straight points to tie the match 71-71 with just 35 seconds remaining.
The Breakers held steady with Cedric Jackson driving to the basket and sinking the lay-up before Mika Vukona pickpocketed one last vital steal as the Crocs looked to tie it up again.
Vukona was in outstanding form, picking up 15 points to go with his 15 rebounds.
After a lethargic start, the Breakers controlled the last two quarters and were cruising to victory at 71-60 with 3min 34sec remaining, before Ervin cut loose.
The Crocs surged out to a 26-18 lead at the first break, but momentum swung back the Breakers way after Ervin copped a technical foul for pushing referee Tim Brown - the home side closing out the second period with a 10-point run which narrowed Townsville's lead to 47-45 at halftime.
The defending champions upped the momentum as the third quarter kicked on, with some excellent defensive work restricting Townsville to just nine points in the spell as they took a 60-56 lead into the three-quarter break.
They looked comfortable in extending the lead as the final spell wound down, until Ervin's late-match spree nearly stole the game.
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