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New Zealand tops Melbourne in NBL thriller

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 4/11/2016
Robert Loe of the Breakers (R) celebrates hitting a three pointer with team mates during the round five NBL match between Melbourne United and the New Zealand Breakers on November 4, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. © Getty Images Robert Loe of the Breakers (R) celebrates hitting a three pointer with team mates during the round five NBL match between Melbourne United and the New Zealand Breakers on November 4, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia.

The New Zealand Breakers have scored a dramatic 98-92 overtime victory over Melbourne United.

Tied at 83 after four quarters on Friday night, United went ahead by four in overtime before back-to-back three-pointers from Breakers big man Robert Loe put the visitors in front 94-92 with less than one minute on the clock.

Tom Abercrombie sealed the win with a breakaway dunk, finishing with 17 points that included 5-of-6 from long range at Hisense Arena.

Alex Pledger recorded 20 points and 10 rebounds while veteran guard kirk Penney chipped in with 17.

With key players Chris Goulding and Todd Blanchfield sidelined, United turned to reserve guard Kyle Adnam (19 points) and Tai Wesley (17) but were unable to prevent a third-straight defeat for the home side.

The Breakers dominated early with strong rebounding and accurate outside shooting to build a 27-13 lead late in the opening quarter.

But the introduction of Adnam sparked the home side, the reserve guard scoring 10 straight points in a 13-0 United run.

David Andersen's hook shot saw Melbourne take their first lead of the match with three minutes left in the half but two quick baskets from import forward Akil Mitchell helped New Zealand go into the main break ahead 41-40.

United kept up the pace in the third quarter with Adnam, Wesley and Nate Tomlinson hitting from outside in a 19-6 surge.

Down by eight at the final change, Abercrombie caught fire with four three-pointers to give the Breaker a 83-81 lead before Ramone Moore sent the game into overtime.

The Breakers will aim for three straight wins when they host the Brisbane Bullets on Sunday, and Melbourne hit the road to face the Illawarra Hawks.

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