3 Feb 2018

Breakers keep playoff hopes alive

6:08 am on 3 February 2018

The New Zealand Breakers have stolen Illawarra's thunder in crunch time to claim a 77-73 NBL win in Wollongong.

Breakers veteran Kirk Penney.

Breakers veteran Kirk Penney. Photo: Photosport Ltd

Trailing after every quarter, the Breakers overpowered the Hawks in last night's final period to chalk up their 14th victory of the season and remain in fourth spot with five games remaining.

Edgar Sosa top-scored for New Zealand with 12 points in a low-scoring contest, while American forward Demitrius Conger tallied a game-high 24 for the Hawks and Nick Kay added 17.

New Zealand chipped away to trail 20-17 at quarter-time and grabbed their first lead early in the second period.

Baskets were hard to come by at both ends, but scoring wasn't a problem for Kay, who racked up 11 of his team's 15 points in the quarter to have 17 at halftime.

Kay's efforts helped the Hawks regain the lead and they stayed ahead 35-30 at halftime.

Conger shouldered the Illawarra scoring load with 13 points in the third period, but the visitors didn't flinch and regained the lead late in the quarter.

The Hawks responded again and held a 55-53 lead heading into the final period, only to be run down in crunch time.

Both teams square off again on Sunday in Auckland.