The New Zealand Breakers basketballers put a little more distance between themselves and the ANBL chasing pack, but had to work hard for their 82-79 home win over the depleted Perth Wildcats at the North Shore Events Centre last night.
The competition leaders found the defending champions, still searching for life after the loss of kingpin Shawn Redhage, a stubborn opposition, the Breakers trailed into the final quarter and had to rely heavily on the experience of guard CJ Bruton to get them home.
Bruton sunk a long range three-pointer with six minutes remaining to finally give his team a lead they could defend, he then hit 4-of-4 from the free-throw line to help them survive a tense final few minutes.
American guard Kevin Lisch made a layup in the final minute to bring Perth within a point, but slipped on what could have been a winning drive to the basket with six seconds left.
Brad Williamson then rimmed out on a bucket that would have forced overtime.
Kirk Penney led all scorers with 21 points for the Breakers and Bruton had 20, while Lisch provided 17 for the Wildcats.
The result boosts the Breakers to 17-3 record and they will try to extend their ANBL record seven-game winning streak when they visit the Gold Coast on Sunday.