Hungry Jack's NBL
Randolph stars as Breakers gain revenge on 'Cats
The New Zealand Breakers continue to show great heart and turned the agony of Tuesday's overtime loss to the Perth Wildcats into an inspired come from behind 83-78 Levi Randolph-led win at RAC Arena on Sunday.
The Breakers were left stunned in Launceston on Tuesday night when Bryce Cotton turned into Superman as the game unfolded to snatch the game away from them in overtime.
However, they responded to that pain immediately well by beating the Brisbane Bullets by 20 points on Friday night also in Tasmania. But on the same evening, the Wildcats beat the Illawarra Hawks by 14 points setting the table for a fascinating clash to clout out #NBL21 Round 14.
The Wildcats needed to win too in order to regain top spot from Melbourne United and gave themselves every chance when leading by 13 points midway through the third quarter.
It was going to take something quite special from there for the Breakers to turn it around and that's exactly what they were able to find, and it was new import Levi Randolph who led the charge.
Turning himself into mid-range jump shot specialist, he was simply unstoppable and was instrumental in turning that 13-point deficit into a five-point three quarter-time advantage almost single-handedly.
But then after another eventful and see-sawing fourth quarter, it was another dramatic finish. With New Zealand leading 81-77, Mitch Norton drew an unsportsmanlike foul on Tom Abercrombie.
Abercrombie, though, would have the last laugh as he grabbed the steal on Perth's attempted in-bounds pass and went on to score the game-sealing bucket as he played clutch hero once again for the Breakers.
It was a win to savour for New Zealand but they also can't be discounted from playoff calculations as their form builds and their record is 7-14 to be within striking distance of the fourth placed Sydney Kings (12-12).
Randolph is already proving himself quite the astute addition for the Breakers. He had 20 points in the win over Brisbane and backed that up in Perth with 23 points, four rebounds and three assists on a supremely efficient 11/16 shooting from the floor.
Abercrombie also had 14 points for New Zealand, Corey Webster 14 points and seven rebounds, Finn Delany 13 points, seven boards and five assists, and man mountain Colton Iverson 11 points and 17 rebounds.
Bryce Cotton's uncharacteristic shooting struggles continued for Perth with the superstar going just 4/17 from the field and 2/9 from deep to finish with 12 points and nine assists.
John Mooney had a terrific battle with Randolph and ended up with 22 points and eight rebounds with Todd Blanchfield adding 19 points, and captain Jesse Wagstaff 12.
Vice-captain Mitch Norton celebrated his 250th NBL game with four points, five assists, four rebounds and two steals.
Both teams are next in action on Friday with the Breakers playing the Cairns Taipans in Launceston while the Wildcats are hosting the Brisbane Bullets at RAC Arena.
HUNGRY JACK'S NBL ROUND 14
PERTH WILDCATS 78 (Mooney 22, Blanchfield 19, Cotton 12, Wagstaff 12)
NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS 83 (Randolph 23, Abercrombie 14, C Webster 14)