17 Nov 2018

Breakers go down in Invercargill thriller

7:01 am on 17 November 2018

The New Zealand Breakers have been beaten 108-101 by Melbourne United in their NBL basketball clash in Invercargill.

Breakers guard Corey Webster.

Breakers guard Corey Webster. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The defending champions overcame a seven-point halftime deficit to hold off the Corey Webster-inspired hosts down the stretch.

It was the first NBL game staged at New Zealand's southern-most city and featured numerous highlights, most notably from visiting American pair Boone and Ware.

Second-placed Melbourne held strong in their seventh game in the space of 20 days to improve their record to 7-3 and close the gap on leaders Perth.

The Breakers drop to 4-4, failing to find support for guard Webster, who scored 20 of his 31 points in the first half and produced a career-high eight assists.

Centre Shawn Long bagged 15 points and six rebounds but was largely eclipsed by Boone, who was disappointed the Breakers had been allowed to play the fast-paced style they wanted.

It was another impressive offensive home outing for the Breakers, who have surpassed 100 points in their last three such games.

The result was a sweet one for Melbourne assistant coach Paul Henare, who walked out of his Breakers head coaching role under a cloud during the off-season.

Long-serving former Breakers centre Alex Pledger was also pleased to play a small part in the Melbourne win.

"Corey was hot in that first half. We adjusted our defence and did a pretty good job on him in the second half.

"Any time you walk out of New Zealand with a W, it's a good win."