Taipans' tough New Zealand loss
THE Cairns Taipans must win at least three of their last four games to be a finals chance, having surrendered a lead in the final minute to lose to the Breakers in Auckland on Thursday night.
The Taipans had New Zealand down and out, but the two-time defending champions rose when it mattered most to steal last night's battle at the death and extend their winning streak to 14 games.
Cam Gliddon had a triple rim out on the buzzer that would have sent the game into overtime, but it was a string of costly errors moments earlier that helped the hosts maintain their perfect record across the ditch this season.
Having led by more than a basket since late in the first quarter, back-to-back turnovers reduced their four point lead to one.
Alex Loughton missed both free throws to heap more pressure on the visitors and as they have done all season, the Breakers pounced at the first sign of weakness.
Cedric Jackson (17 points, six steals, nine rebounds, seven assists) was again the key man, floating one in to gain the lead for the first time.
Cam Gliddon missed with his first triple to regain the lead, and after two Thomas Abercrombie free throws, was cruelly denied another three-pointer to level the scores.
It was a sour note on another top class game from the rookie, who finished with 15 points, four assists, one steal and four rebounds.
Jamar Wilson had 15 points and five boards, Alex Loughton 12 points and Cam Tragardh 10 boards, three assists and six points.
The team must win three of their last four, which include road trips to Adelaide (this Saturday) and Perth, before hosting Adelaide and Melbourne.
New Zealand 80 (Pledger 20, Jackson 17) def Cairns 77 (Gliddon, Wilson 15)
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Hard to beat: Cairns were great but Cedric Jackson was better, filling his line with 17 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and six steals as the New Zealand stole a 80-77 victory at the death.