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Breakers fight back to take down Crocs

Superstar Breakers import Cedric Jackson has fired a warning shot to the competition's point guards with a dazzling all-court display in New Zealand's 79-75 win over the Townsville Crocodiles in Game 2 of the 2015 NBL Blitz. Jackson was supreme throughout, working with the luxury of a jumpshot on Wednesday night, to register 23 points (9-20 including 4-8 from deep), four rebounds and six assists. It was largely a two-man show for the Breakers who got 18 points from sharpshooting off-guard Everard Bartlett (7-11) who sparked the fightback after Townsville held a seven-point lead midway through the third term. Contributions for the home side came on both ends of the age spectrum with veteran centre Luke Schenscher netting an efficient 16 points, and 23-year-old rookie Nick Kay showed what he will offer the competition, racking up 18 points and 10 rebounds (seven offensive). The Crocs asserted their will down low in the first half through off-season recruit Schenscher, Kay and Mitch Young, while the Breakers came out of the blocks lagging. But a heart-to-heart from New Zealand mentor Dean Vickerman early in the third term quickly remedied the situation. "I felt we were asleep the first half. I felt like we were playing in New Zealand time," he said after the game. "I didn't like it and I called a timeout pretty quick in the second half to try and make a change. "I thought we made some changes there. Some of the youth coming in made some changes in our effort areas because we just got smashed on the boards and our foul discipline was really poor in the first half, and those two areas we fixed. "We didn't give them the free throws in the second half, we didn't give them the second shots that we gave up in the second half." Down 47-40 after a Schenscher jumpshot, the Breakers responded with jumpers to Jackson and Bartlett who helped engineer a 9-0 run going into the fourth quarter. The Crocs squandered many chances without the guidance of three playmaking guards in Jordair Jett, Mitch Norton and Mirko Djeric, scoring just two points in the final five minutes of the third term. Down 59-56 at three-quarter time, the Crocs could not stop the New Zealand juggernaut that had awoken from their slumber as the triumvirate of Jackson, Bartlett and Tai Wesley ran riot in the fourth term, which was iced with a gorgeous no-look dime from Jackson to Wesley. The Crocs walked away from Day 1 of the Blitz far from discouraged however, with coach Shawn Dennis highlighting the dogged fight in his squad and the talent of strong Rookie of the Year contender Kay when asked on his thoughts on the game. "Fantastic (performance). We are down three ball-handling guards and they're running four or five guards at poor old Corey (Maynard) and to go down by four I think was terrific," he said post-game. "We just ran out of gas in the end, so moving forward you get pretty excited about that. A lot of people are writing this group off for a variety of reasons but I think they do that at their own peril." On the performance of Kay tonight: "That's why I recruited him (the seven offensive rebounds). He's a terrific kid and he doesn't get fazed. Worthington went at him last week and he didn't bat an eyelid; Vukona tonight and doesn't bat an eyelid."   New Zealand Breakers 79 (Jackson 23, Bartlett 18, Wesley 13) Townsville Crocodiles 75 (Kay 18, Schenscher 16, Steindl 12) Box Score  
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