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Breakers end NBL slide by beating 36ers

New Zealand Breakers have ended a four-game slide with an 84-75 win over Adelaide 36ers on a night in which the NBL’s young talent and rookies excelled.

Next Star Hugo Besson led all scorers with 17 points, combining with fellow Frenchman Ousmane Dieng (13 points) to stave off a desperate 36ers outfit on their home floor.

Besson was as clutch as he was fearless in the dying stages of the contest, attacking Adelaide’s bigs and hitting tough shots to keep the 36ers at arms length.

The 20-year-old had back-to-back buckets down the stretch to maintain a seven-point buffer for his side, before Chasson Randle sealed the game with a dagger three-pointer as Adelaide couldn’t buy a bucket in the final minutes.

Putting out a full strength roster for the first time this season, the Breakers (5-13) raced to their equal highest scoring quarter of the year behind 6-8 shooting from deep to lead 30-16 at the first break.

Adelaide rallied and got within six points at the main break, but after dominating the offensive glass all night long they went cold around the rim and slipped to their fifth-straight loss in an away game in front of their home fans.

“Not good enough,” 36ers point guard Mitch McCarron said.

“Not good enough from myself, not good enough in executing and getting good shots and getting stops.

“You give a team that’s going to be excited about getting their full roster back 30 points in the first quarter, let’s call it what it is they’re on the road, it’s not good enough.”

But in the loss there were positives for the 36ers with Filipino rookie Kai Sotto registering a career best 14 points to go with seven rebounds.

His three-pointer in the first half also made the 218cm centre the tallest player ever to register a shot beyond the arc in NBL history.

For the Breakers, coach Dan Shamir said seeing his young players develop and star was a bright spot in what’s been a difficult season on the road.

“We put in the effort, we had fresher legs, we were a little bit more intense at the defensive end for more minutes of the game,” he said.

“Had our lapses obviously but overall shot the ball well, defended pretty good and hope we can build from this.

“To see the way that Hugo and Ousmane are playing, this is the main joy for me as a coach just to see the development.

“It has been a process but they’re turning into complete players.”

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