The New Zealand Breakers' tough start to the season has continued with the visitors beaten 88-82 by the Bullets in their NBL basketball clash in Brisbane.
The six-point win snapped a two-game losing streak for Brisbane and condemned the Breakers to their third defeat in four games.
American import Torrey Craig led the way for the hosts with 17 points and six rebounds, while Australian forward Cameron Bairstow chimed in with 14 points and six rebounds in his third game back from a dislocated shoulder.
Brisbane led by as many as 16 points during the contest, but the Breakers stepped up after halftime to create a tense finish in front of 3000 fans at the Brisbane Convention Centre.
Bullets coach Andrej Lemanis, the former long time Breakers mentor, was pleased with the character his team showed after the Breakers fought their way back into the contest during the second half.
"We had struggles in the third quarter where we gave up 26 points against an experienced team full of internationals, but we fought our way through it and rediscovered our poise," Lemanis said.
"The intent and energy in defence was good and we found a way to get a few easy scores with the game on the line, which shows significant progress for us.
"This team is in a building process and for us it's about getting better every day."
The Bullets overcame early jitters to take a 26-17 lead into quarter-time courtesy of a 19-2 run that blitzed the Breakers during a five-minute period.
Brisbane kept grinding away in the second and outscored the Breakers by four, enabling them to cruise towards a 13-point advantage at the main break.
New Zealand made a bright start after halftime, chipping away at the Bullets' healthy lead to bring them within four points midway through the quarter.
The Breakers continued to ride a wave of momentum as the quarter wore on and levelled the scoreboard with two minutes remaining in the third, until the Bullets claimed a slender 64-63 lead before the final stretch.
A response was required by the home side and they delivered via Craig, who scored 10 points in the fourth quarter that ultimately proved the catalyst for the Bullets' third win of the season.