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Breakers force Vector showdown with road win

Published: 12:09AM Friday April 06, 2012 Source: ONE Sport

The Breakers have proved their championship mettle once more with a superb 94-83 road win over the Townsville Crocs to keep their season alive.

Down 1-0 in the three-game series and needing to win to force a decider the Breakers picked up their defence and rebounding to end the Crocs' hopes of wrapping up their finals spot at home.

It continues the mirror image of the Breakers' run to the title last season, setting up another do-or-die clash at Vector Arena in Auckland on Saturday night.

With all the speculation pre-match about whether star guard Cedric Jackson would take the floor, it was the Breakers bench who were the difference on the night. Led by veteran CJ Bruton who top scored with 18 points as he came to life in the dying stages with some big threes to close the game out.

Big man Alex Pledger was also strong off the bench with 12 points and six rebounds, while Dillon Boucher was immense in his effort that included four points, seven boards, four assists and two steals.

That said, the Breakers starters also played a big part with Jackson still effective despite obviously being in some discomfort with his sprained ankle. He had 14 points, five assists and four rebounds, while fellow import Gary Wilkinson quietly made his way to 14 points for the night.

The Crocs import point guard Eddie Gill had a big night with a game-high 24 points, but he couldn't get the assistance on a night where the shots weren't falling as they had in Auckland last week.

The Breakers won the battle of the boards out-rebounding the Crocs by 42-32 and increased their defence to help reduce the Crocs shooting percentage from 57-percent last week to a more manageable 40-percent tonight.

Early on there were no signs of Jackson's sore ankle as he nailed consecutive jumpers to get the Breakers out to a 5-0 start. However the Crocs hit back going on a 9-2 run to take the lead.

But it would be the last time they would lead as the Breakers led by 10 after the first quarter, dropping 27 points a 53-percent from the floor.

A burst from Crocs brothers Michael and Chris Cedar got them to within four early in the second before Pledger scored eight consecutive points to keep the home side at bay.

The Breakers led by 14 at the half and despite some improved shooting from the Crocs, they were able to do enough to hold onto it in a sloppy third quarter.

Some excellent three point shooting from Bruton and Darryl Corletto in the final quarter meant their lead never dropped below six and allowed them to hold on for the deserved win.