Breakers lose warm-up match with Hawks
A short-handed New Zealand Breakers squad finished their home pre-season campaign with a 90-84 loss to the Wollongong Hawks at Hamilton's Claudelands Arena tonight.
In the last of three matches this week against the same opposition, the Hawks took early bragging rights by winning for the second time on their trip against the two-times defending Australian National Basketball League champions.
The home side had Tall Blacks star Tom Abercrombie out recovering from injury, while veteran guard CJ Bruton was forced to sit out the encounter with a bruised sternum.
The Breakers still managed to establish a 71-66 lead at the end of the third quarter but a couple of late three-pointers from Hawks shooting guard Lance Hurdle helped the visitors grab the victory as Mika Vukona and Cedric Jackson missed three-point attempts in the final minute which would have levelled the score.
There were still some good signs for the Andrej Lemanis-coached outfit, in particular the first appearance for Corey Webster since he was banned for a year for a failing a drugs test for the second time in his short career.
The shooting guard had 10 points off the bench and was unlucky not to have more, with his shots often rolling around the basket and popping out.
Star point guard Jackson was kept relatively quiet by the visitors until late but fellow import Will Hudson made a notable impression. The former Gold Coast Blaze player had 11 points and eight rebounds in 19 minutes while starting centre Alex Pledger had 22 minutes for eight points and seven rebounds.
Hudson had a put-back dunk and a reverse slam in rapid succession during the second quarter which lifted the crowd.
NZ Breakers 84 (Cedric Jackson 16, Mika Vukona 13, Daryl Corletto 13)
Wollongong Hawks 90 (Lance Hurdle 21, Larry Davidson 16).