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Captain Cam comes up clutch on the road

Taipans captain Cameron Gliddon shook off a rusty first five weeks to almost single-handedly dismantle the more fancied Breakers 86-79 at Vector Arena. After claiming the Most Valuable Player award from the pre-season's Australian Basketball Challenge, Gliddon – averaging just over 10 points per game – had found himself in a rut before exploding for 25 points on just 11 shots on Friday. The impressive haul was a single point shy of his career high, with 11 of it coming in a copybook final quarter – including the dagger crossover and lay-up with 40 seconds remaining that left Akil Mitchell weak at the knees. While every Taipan contributed, it was a two-man show between Gliddon and Mark Worthington (17 points, seven assists, four rebounds), who is playing some of his best basketball in recent years despite this season potentially being his last. "I said to the guys after the game that I thought tonight's result was probably a build-up of the last three or four games," Taipans coach Aaron Fearne said after the game. "We just made shots. We think as coaches that we are the wizards when we win games like that in the fourth quarter, but we just ran some stuff and guys made plays. "I think when you get to the fourth quarter, like in any league in the world, especially on the road you've got to make shots to win. "I'd still like to see us finish better in the paint… but when you shoot 57 per cent [three-pointers] and make 13 threes, you probably shouldn't lose." Shooters Thomas Abercrombie, Corey Webster and Kirk Penney led the home side with 18, 17 and 16 respectively, but the Snakes simply outshot the Breakers when the chips were down. Cairns exploded out of the blocks with an 8-0 run that was immediately matched by the Breakers on the back of consecutive Abercrombie triples. Worthington (seven first-quarter points) was Cairns' sole source of early offence, while the Breakers found good shots everywhere they looked to take a 22-17 quarter-time lead. The first quarter was a half-court slog, but it took just a minute into the second for New Zealand to find some open floor. Fresh off a bucket from dribble penetration, an invigorated Webster threw one up on the break for Akil Mitchell who finished with an aggressive two-handed slam to cap an 11-2 run either side of quarter time. Down nine in the blink of an eye, Cairns regrouped with six quick Fuquan Edwin points, and Worthington (five assists at half-time) stuffed his own box score with assist after assist – including a drop-off for Edwin's transition three and alley-oop for Gliddon. Webster slithered to the cup for two at the half-time as the Breakers took a 40-39 lead into the third quarter, and they kept finding points inside on the other side of the half. Cairns was keeping pace with solid execution in the half-court, but Webster again put the final stamp on the quarter, sizing up Alex Loughton and shaking the veteran Snake out of his shoes before stepping back for three. But neither side was giving an inch. Gliddon, McCarron, Abercrombie and Rob Loe all joined the three-point party early in the final term, but the home side could not keep pace as Worthington and Gliddon hit multiple big shots down the stretch while the Breakers scored just five points and turned it over three times in the final three minutes. "I feel like a good majority of [Cairns'] made threes came off defensive breakdowns and that's not good enough from us," Breakers coach Paul Henare said. "We spoke before the game that they're a team where we need to play defence for 24 seconds, or as long as they have the ball, because they keep running through and they keep searching for shots and searching for defensive breakdowns. "We lost that battle tonight."   CAIRNS TAIPANS 86 (Gliddon 25, Worthington 17, Edwin 14) NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS 79 (Abercrombie 18, Webster 17, Penney 16) BOX SCORE
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