Wetzell powers Breakers to first NBL win
Adrian Warren |
Centre Yannick Wetzell produced a career-best NBL scoring performance as New Zealand Breakers notched their first win of the season and ended their Australian drought.
Coming into Sunday’s game in Brisbane with a 0-6 record, their worst NBL season start, the Breakers led for most of the match and by as much as 17 in the third quarter.
Brisbane cut the deficit to two inside the last 25 seconds, but Breakers’ guard Peyton Siva nailed the 88-83 win with three free throws.
In the only game of the round, Brisbane were playing for the first time in three weeks and the Breakers for the first time a fortnight.
It was a first win for the Breakers in their last 11 games in Australia stretching back to round 16 last season.
“I am not getting too excited over the win and 1-6,” Breakers’ coach Dan Shamir said.
“We basically controlled the game from the beginning most of the time and played hard, got a lot of offensive rebounds, effort plays.”
Centre Wetzell was the dominant player on the court, scoring 27 points on 60 per cent field goal shooting and added eight boards, four assists, two steals and a block.
“In my eyes he’s a very high level player and I think today we used him a little bit better,” Shamir said.
Wetzell score 20 or more for the fourth time this season.
“I got some good looks. The point guards found me in good positions and the ball was dropping which was nice,” Wetzell said.
“But the fact of the matter was our defence stepped up massively and not only that, our leadership.
“My main focus on the court today was trying to talk, bring the guys along with me and it was nice to get the monkey off the back for sure.”
Will Besson scored 12 points, Siva, back from a hamstring injury, tallied 11 and fellow American guard Jeremiah Martin (10 points, eight assists) made some big plays down the stretch for the winners.
Brisbane imports stars Lamar Patterson and Robert Franks lifted after having minimal impact in the first half.
Patterson finished with a team-high 17 points and Franks, who didn’t score in the first half, contributed 13 points and nine boards.
Anthony Drmic and Nathan Sobey each tallied 14 and Jack Salt addd 10 points and plenty of energy off the bench.
“We just seemed flat. We didn’t seem like we had a rhythm for the game,” Bullets coach James Duncan said.
“We had 20 turnovers and it’s hard to win any game when you turn the ball over 20 times.
“We’re not making any excuses. We prepared the best we can and we had opportunities to win the game but just execution-wise throughout we just didn’t have it.”AAP