13 Apr 2012

Bruton inspires Breakers to overtime win

7:11 am on 13 April 2012

The Breakers veteran CJ Bruton produced another piece of playoff magic to lift the New Zealanders to a 104-98 overtime win over the Perth Wildcats in game one of the best of three ANBL grand final series at a sold-out Vector Arena.

Bruton slotted a go-ahead three-pointer with one minute 21 seconds left in the extra period, before drawing a crucial charging foul at the defensive end.

American Cedric Jackson led the Breakers with 25 points with Bruton contributing 20, including five three-pointers.

Star Breakers forward Tom Abercrombie dressed and warmed up, but never entered the game, his team-mates only finding out he wouldn't play in the pre-match shoot around.

The New Zealanders started flat and rapidly conceded a double-digit deficit before a long-distance barrage from Gary Wilkinson, Daryl Corletto and Bruton finally had the hosts rolling.

The Breakers continued their hot hand from beyond the arc cruising to 50-35 lead at half-time.

Both teams have a week to regroup before meeting again in Perth next Friday.

The game was played before 9,125 fans, setting a new national record for the largest crowd ever at a basketball game in New Zealand.