American Will Hudson returned from injury to help the NZ Breakers overcome a 21-point halftime deficit and defeat Adelaide 36ers 71-66 on the road tonight.
After shooting just 26% from the field in the first half, the defending Australia NBL champions seemed on course for a heavy defeat out of the Christmas break. They seemed to have little answer for the "twin towers" frontline of former NBA centre Luke Schenscher and Daniel Johnson, who had 34 points between them at the break.
But the Sixers have a reputation for faltering down the stretch, and were booed off the court after managing just five points in the final quarter and allowing the Breakers to slip past for victory.
Hudson had missed the previous outing two weeks ago with suspected concussion, but played a huge part in slowing Schenscher and Johnson defensively. He was also on hand for seven offensive rebounds, several of which he converted into points as his side mounted their comeback.
The American finished the contest with 23 points/11 rebounds, while compatriot Cedric Jackson mustered 17 points, seven assists, five rebounds and three steals. Forward Mika Vukona gathered 10 rebounds.
Jackson, who further enhanced his case for Most Valuable Player honours, helped turn the tide during the third quarter and dominated down the stretch, hitting a go-ahead three-pointer at 65-64 with 2m 50s left on the clock.
Counterpart Adam Gibson put the Sixers back up momentarily with a fade-away jumper in the paint, but Jackson was able to find his team-mates cutting to the hoop at the other end for the winning baskets.
For Adelaide, Schenscher finished with 25 points/16 rebounds, but added just six points in the second half. Johnson was held scoreless over the final 20 minutes.
With their win, the Breakers improved to 10-3 for the season, and increased their lead over Perth Wildcats, Wollongong Hawks (both 8-4) and Sydney Kings (9-5) on the competition ladder over .
They now travel to Cairns to meet the Taipans on New Year's Eve.
NZ Breakers 71 (Will Hudson 23, Cedric Jackson 17) Adelaide 36ers 66 (Luke Schenscher 25, Daniel Johnson 15, Stephen Weigh 10)