Official Player Websites Subscribe - Free Newsletter

Sports News First

Tigers spoil Breaker Bruton's milestone

By Chris Pike
8 December 2013 09:08PM EST

MELBOURNE and New Zealand played out one of the games of the NBL season on Sunday at The Cage with the Tigers prevailing to spoil Breaker CJ Bruton's 500th game in the league.

Bruton is an all-time great of the NBL having played in six championship-winning teams on his way to the 500-game mark, but he didn’t get to celebrate with a win with the Tigers holding on in a thriller to win 84-82 in Melbourne.

The result means that the Breakers return to Auckland after two games in Australia over the weekend winless despite playing well in the second half in Perth against the Wildcats on Friday night, and then putting in another good effort against the Tigers on Sunday.

However, with the loss the three-time defending NBL champions slip to a 4-8 record on the season to be in sixth position on the ladder ahead of a clash at Vector Arena on Friday night with the Perth Wildcats.

Meanwhile, Melbourne snapped a three-game losing run to improve to a 5-6 record and back into fourth position ahead of Townsville and New Zealand in the standings.

Sunday's clash was a tight affair all afternoon at The Cage and scores were again tied at 82 apiece with 22 seconds remaining after New Zealand import Gary Wilkinson hit a long two.

The Breakers then took a gamble by fouling Tigers import Mustapha Farrakhan to send him to the line where he nailed just one of two to have Melbourne leading 83-82 with New Zealand getting the ball back.

Tom Abercrombie had a good look at a jumper for the Breakers, but it rimmed out with Melbourne's Lucas Walker grabbing the rebound to then be immediately fouled.

He hit one from two to make the Tigers' lead 84-82 but the Breakers still had one more chance to either tie the scores, or steal the win.

Milestone man Bruton had a chance to win the game for the Breakers but Farrakhan got a piece of his three-point attempt and the Tigers held on to win by two points.

Farrakhan had the best of his three games for Melbourne since arriving to replace Ayinde Ubaka with him finishing the game with 20 points, six assists, three rebounds and two steals while shooting an incredible 9-of-10 from the field.

He didn’t have the same touch at the free-throw line though, going 2-of-8.

Mark Worthington top-scored for the Tigers with 21 points while Chris Goulding added 14 and centre Scott Morrison eight to go with seven rebounds and two blocks.

In his 500th NBL match, Bruton finished with four points, four assists, three rebounds and three steals as he continues to amass one of the great Australian basketball careers.

The son of Cal, a former championship-winning NBL player and coach in his own right, CJ began his career with the Perth Wildcats in 1994 before since playing with the Brisbane Bullets, Wollongong Hawks, Canberra Cannons, Sydney Kings and now New Zealand since 2008.

In that time, he has played in two championships with the Kings, one with the Bullets and the current three-peat with the Breakers.

Bruton has also represented Australia at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games with the Boomers, and without question will go down as an all-time great of the game in this country.

Wilkinson top-scored on Sunday again for the Breakers, as he did in Perth on Friday, with 20 points to go with six rebounds.

Abercrombie added 18 points for New Zealand, Reuben Te Rangi 11, Mika Vukona eight (10 rebounds), Daryl Corletto eight and Kerron Johnson seven.

Your view first

Add your comment... Comments (0)