9 Nov 2015

Breakers 'gutted' by last minute loss

1:39 pm on 9 November 2015

The New Zealand Breakers are refusing to comment on what has been described as a contentious call on point guard Corey Webster in the side's last second 87-86 loss to Melbourne United.

Tom Abercrombie

Tom Abercrombie Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The match turned on a controversial moment when the referees called an unsportsmanlike foul on Breakers star Corey Webster after Chris Goulding went to the floor following a midcourt tussle, when the Breakers led 85-84 in Melbourne.

It coincided with a foul by Melbourne centre Majok Majok on Breakers centre Alex Pledger who received the inbound pass.

Pledger could make only one of his two free throws while Goulding made both of his to tie the game up at 86-86, with Melbourne retaining possession and then drawing the decisive foul on a drive to the basket.

Import Stephen Holt hit the last-second free throw to steal the dramatic win and condemn the Breakers (4-4) to their first loss in four games.

Breakers assistant coach Paul Henare refused to comment on the incident following the game but admitted it was a tough loss to take.

"I just really feel for the guys, they played some really good basketball, obviously we came in a little bit undermanned and you know I thought for the most part of that game we played some really, really good basketball. So the guys are really gutted and disappointed and you know really I'm just feeling for them and hopefully we can use this as fuel to really move forward and make some progress as a team."

Having recovered from a seven-point deficit with less than three minutes to go, the win extended Melbourne's unbeaten start to the National Basketball League to nine games.

Goulding and Holt both finished with 17 points for Melbourne while Charles Jackson (28 points, 14 rebounds) and captain Tom Abercrombie (23 points) led the way for the Breakers.

Gaze hits out at controversial call

Basketball great Andrew Gaze has joined a chorus of criticism of the controversial final-minute unsportsmanlike foul call.

The NBL's confirmed the decision would form part of their weekly review process.

But Gaze called it "a shocking, shocking way for a game to end in basketball" in a radio interview.

"What a shemozzle, that is just umpires not understanding the spirit of the game, the way it should be played and that is just an unfortunate mistake, they've made a bad mistake," Gaze told SEN Radio.

Gaze was not alone in his views, with numerous other Australian basketball icons tweeting in agreement.

"NBL that is horrible. You need to do something about that! TERRIBLE," tweeted Australia's Utah Jazz shooting guard, Joe Ingles.

"You are a joke mate, are you kidding me? NBL better do something about that ref," posted Adelaide 36ers captain Adam Gibson.

"Those calls aren't education, their (sic) plain wrong. The league needs to be great now, not later," Melbourne Tigers great Chris Anstey tweeted.

"I am absolutely speechless. I feel sick. Great game by both teams. But that's not how basketball is meant to work," posted Cairns Taipans shooting guard Cameron Gliddon.

After the match, United coach Dean Demopoulos agreed his team had been fortunate in victory.

"I just think collectively as a group we had horse shoes up our arses, which means you're lucky, we were lucky. As much as I love coming out on top I don't like doing it like that," he said.

The Breakers' next game is against the Perth Wildcats in Auckland on Friday.