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GAME REPORT

Bullets Chase Down Breakers in OT with Drmic Walk Off

Anthony Drmic has had his best moment in Brisbane Bullets colours hitting a walk off three to give his team the most remarkable of come from behind overtime victories 101-100 against the New Zealand Breakers.

The Breakers and Bullets did battle in an empty stadium in Cairns on Thursday night to open Round 17 in the NBL and they had no trouble creating their own energy with their offensive play most of the night.

Neither coach would have liked what his team produced defensively but it was the Breakers who were on fire early with Yanni Wetzell delivering 13 first-quarter points to help his team to a lead as big as 15.

The Bullets eventually whittled it down with Jason Cadee on his way to a career-night for assists. Late Brisbane threes from Robert Franks and Deng Deng got the game to overtime, but Breakers captain Tom Abercrombie appeared to shut the door in the extra period.

He hit three triples in the final five minutes on his way to 21 points on 6/10 from downtown for the night to put New Zealand up five which soon became seven.

However with 16 seconds to go, Franks hit a three for Brisbane, Tanner Krebs did the same seconds later and then on a poor full-court pass from Will McDowell-White, Deng intercepted. He passed it off to Drmic who nailed the triple as time expired for the incredible one-point win.

Franks finished with 31 points and 11 rebounds for Brisbane with Cadee adding to his career-best 11 assists with 11 points. 

Drmic also had 15 points including the heroic game winner while Lamar Patterson had 17 points and seven assists, and Deng Deng 16 points and five rebounds.

It was a beaming Drmic post-match after hitting the game winner in the most spectacular of fashions.

"I don’t think in the NBL I've made a shot like that, I don’t get the ball in that position a lot," Drmic said.

"I just saw Deng get hold of the pass and I knew that we needed a three to win so I just ran out to the three, Deng found me and I knocked it down. 

"I thought it had a chance when it left my hand but I honestly don’t know. That was a crazy last sequence in that last 30 seconds. I'm happy we got the win and hopefully it gets us rolling."

Yanni Wetzell finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds for New Zealand with Chasson Randle adding 12 points and four assists, Peyton Siva 11 points and eight assists, and Ousmane Dieng 11 points and five rebounds.

It was an understandably shatters Breakers coach Dan Shamir afterwards.

"That's really a tough one. We've been playing better the last few games since we've had Tom back and Yanni back and Will back, and still not 100 per cent obviously but we kind of had a lot of good things going," Shamir said. 

"Basketball is a game of decisions and we made two bad ones at the end and made a few other mistakes throughout the game, but obviously had the game in our hands. We just made two big mistakes to close it and there it goes."

It was a stunning start from the Breakers opening with a triple from Rob Loe who started in place of Finn Delany as New Zealand went big. It worked and Yanni Wetzell scored six points during an 8-0 run that put them up 12-2.

The Bullets defence was leaking like a sieve and didn’t really stop, but at least they started putting some points on the board including Robert Franks ending the opening quarter with 10 of them on 4/5 shooting.

But Wetzell had 13 for the Breakers on 6/6 and triples late as well to Peyton Siva and Will McDowell-White helped them out to a 29-22 lead after one.

New Zealand then caught fire to an even greater degree to open the second quarter. McDowell-White hit back-to-back triples, Chasson Randle converted an and-one after coasting to the bucket and then Ousmane Dieng dribbled himself into a pretty three ball.

Suddenly the Breakers were up 41-26 and shooting 64 per cent from the floor. Randle then hit a couple of three-pointers himself, Siva and Tom Abercrombie added another each and they were 10/17 from downtown at the half.

The Breakers led 57-46 but it wasn’t a game full of defence and the Bullets were executing well offensively too to shoot at 53 per cent with 15 points to Franks, 11 to Jason Cadee and 10 to Lamar Patterson.

The Breakers weren’t letting up with threes to open the second half from Abercrombie and Loe, but eventually the Bullets were able to build some momentum going on a run of nine consecutive points to make it a one possession game.

Late triples before three quarter-time to Dieng and Abercrombie kept New Zealand to a seven-point edge but all of a sudden Brisbane started the fourth quarter with a 12-2 run and they led for the first time.

New Zealand responded with the next seven points including a third triple on the night to Dieng, but it was back-to-back long-range bombs for Brisbane to Franks and Deng Deng that had them back up 88-86 with 1:45 remaining.

Wetzell hit two free-throws to tie scores back up and that's how they stayed at the end of four with neither team really able to get a good look on their final possessions.

While Patterson scored first in overtime on a beautiful Cadee pass, Abercrombie nailed two more threes in response for New Zealand, and then when he banked one in with a minute left it appeared to seal the deal for the Breakers.

Brisbane had other ideas and three three-point bombs in the final 16 seconds from Franks, Krebs and finally Drmic saw them snatch the most remarkable of wins.

The Breakers remain in Cairns to take on the Taipans on Sunday while the Bullets return to Brisbane to play host to the Tasmania JackJumpers on Saturday.

HUNGRY JACK'S NBL ROUND 17

NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS 100 (Wetzell 23, Abercrombie 21, Randle 12)

BRISBANE BULLETS 101 (Franks 31, Patterson 17, Deng 16) 

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