Forward Mika Vukona has led the New Zealand Breakers to their 12th straight win in the Australian National Basketball League, beating the Wollongong Hawks 92-84 on the North Shore.
The defending champions scored the first 10 points of the game and although their guests twice closed within a handful of points - including just three in the final minutes - the Hawks were never able to complete their comeback.
Vukona led his team with 24 points, including a crucial three-point play in the final two minutes to finally give his team some comfort.
Tom Abercrombie had 17 points and centre Alex Pledger compiled 12 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.
Vukona says team-mate CJ Bruton told him to come out aggressive and for the first time, he listened to him. He says he just took it on himself and things were falling for him.
The Townsville Crocodiles' run towards the playoffs hit a huge bump as they lost 80-52 to the second placed Perth Wildcats and the Sydney Kings' finals hopes have been dealt a blow with a heart-breaking 78-75 defeat by the Cairns Taipans.
The Breakers top the standings, two losses ahead of Perth with Melbourne third and Sydney fourth.