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Tigers Too Good For NZ Breakers

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Tigers Too Good For NZ Breakers

Auckland, Jan 22 NZPA - A standout defensive performance in the second half saw the Melbourne Tigers win a vital Australian National Basketball League match over the New Zealand Breakers here tonight.

The Tigers won 103-85 in front of a sellout crowd of 3000 at North Shore Events Centre where the Breakers found baskets hard to come in the second half once the defending champions dried up the points from top local shooter Kirk Penney.

Their defence kept the Breakers to just 37 points in the second half as the locals failing to get their trademark three-point shooting going, and scored 56 points of their own in the same period.

The win, the fifth in a row for the Tigers, draws them level with the Breakers on win percentage in the contest for second place on the league ladder.

In the first quarter the key big men for both sides, Rick Rickert and Chris Anstey, both had two fouls inside the first seven minutes.

Anstey nonetheless had a profitable first quarter, scoring nine points, while Penney bagged 12 for the Breakers.

The second quarter was a tense affair at times. Anstey, who was double-teamed for much of the period, went down after a collision with Paul Henare, and the two came close to a confrontation a few minutes later.

An up-and-down quarter looked to be heading the Breakers' way mainly through Penney, who had 21 of the home team's 48 points at the break.

They had a four-point lead with four seconds to go in the quarter but a foul on Anstey as he attempted a half-court shot with seconds remaining saw him given three foul shots, which he landed to make the score 48-47 in favours of the hosts at halftime.

The Tigers got off to a fast start in the third quarter, a 14-6 run giving them a seven-point lead, with Ebi Ere finally bursting into action with nine quick points.

Some strong work by Rickert and Penney got the Breakers back into it, and they levelled with a Phill Jones three-pointer with less than 3min left in the quarter.

But a four-point play from Dave Thomas and a failure from the Breakers to capitalise on some turnovers allowed the Tigers to take a six-point lead going into the final quarter.

The Tigers' lead increased to 13 early in the fourth quarter, pushing the Breakers into catch-up mode.

They took a few too many low percentage shots against what was a tough Melbourne defence, led by Anstey, and never looked likely to bridge the gap.

Anstey was outstanding, getting into double figures in both rebounds and scoring, while Ere, Daryl Corletto and Dave Thomas were also in double figures with their scoring.

Penney led all scorers but could only score seven points in the second half, and none of his teammates picked up the slack.

The Breakers and Tigers face each other again in Melbourne on Saturday.

Both then play the table-topping South Dragons in the following week.

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