The Manawatu Jets all but ended the Waikato Pistons' playoff ambitions with an 85-74 win in Palmerston North this afternoon.
After the home side dominated the first half, Waikato surged into the lead and looked as if they would take it home.
But the accurate three-point shooting of Jets guard Alonzo Burton off the bench dragged them back into it.
He hit back-to-back three pointers either side of three-quarter time to give them the lead and they closed it out once they hit the front.
Burton's four threes saw him lead the scorers for the Jets with 21 points and he built on the work of point guard Brandon Jenkins, who finished with 19 points, 10 assists and six rebounds, as well as controlling play in the first half.
In the first half, the Jets' inside defence didn't let Waikato though and the Pistons had to take risky shots.
The Jets led 4-0 early, but the Pistons scored nine unanswered points, then the lead traded hands until midway through the second quarter when the Jets pulled ahead.
They were up by 11 before the Pistons came back slightly and the Jets were up 39-32 at halftime.
The third quarter was a nightmare for the Jets as the Pistons went on a 20-7 run and it took Burton's sharp shooting to snap the Jets out of it and they went into three-quarter time trailing 56-53.
Waikato's Zac Carter, Akeem Wright and point guard Corin Henry, who had 10 assists, made it look easy to get to the basket sometimes and the Jets shooting had deserted them.
Jets forward Jeremiah Trueman came up with some big defensive plays when under the pump from Carter, who was also a dangerman from deep, sinking six three pointers.
Carter scored 25 points and Wright 21 with 12 rebounds, while Casey Frank scored 11 and was a nuisance on defence.
For the Jets Paul Jones scored 14 points and Arthur Trousdell 10, while Nick Horvath had 20 rebounds and seven points.
Manawatu Jets 85 (Alonzo Burton 21, Brandon Jenkins 19, Paul Jones 14, Arthur Trousdell 10, Nick Horvath 20 rebounds)
Waikato Pistons 74 (Carter 25, Wright 21/12, Casey Frank 11) Q1: 18-17, HT: 39-32, Q3: 53-56. FT: 85-74.
Who is the most important player for the Tall Blacks at the World Cup?