Jackson scored a team-high 18 points and contributed nine assists, seven rebounds and six steals against the NBL’s worst team to help the Breakers jump a game clear of Cairns in the league’s win column.
Late in the fourth, Thomas Abercrombie bricked a crucial free throw to tie the game at 77 with 1:45 remaining, but a mid-range jump shot from Tai Wesley on the following Breakers’ possession pushed the visitors into the lead.
A pair of missed free throws from Larry Davidson down the other end allowed the Breakers to retain possession and build a three-point advantage at the line until Rhys Martin sunk a last-second three, atoning for a botched play moments before, to send the game into overtime.
Jackson and Martin traded a bunch of baskets to kick start overtime but a three and an alley-oop dunk finish from Abercrombie broke the game open for New Zealand, running out seven point winners in the final minute.
“They’re a great team and they made a great play, but we stayed composed in overtime and closed it out for the win,” Jackson said of Martin’s overtime forcing shot.
“They took care of the ball really well, shared the ball and got to the offensive rebounds.”
The vocal Auckland crowd played a role in helping bring the Breakers back from a 39-33 halftime deficit.
“I’ve never heard it that loud. It was great,” Jackson said. “I appreciate all the fans and man it gave us an extra boost to pull that out. It was a tough win and Wollongong is a tough team and they were rolling so the fans helped us win.”
Abercrombie added 16 points for New Zealand and Corey Webster chipped in 15. Martin and Gary Ervin each scored 21 points for the visitors.
The two sides will meet again on Sunday when the Breakers head to Wollongong for a round 14 rematch.
Photo: Jason Oxenham/Getty Images.