A 24-point outing from Edgar Sosa wasn't enough to lift the Breakers over the Adelaide 36ers, with the New Zealand side falling to an 88-85 loss on Friday night.

Adelaide were given a big boost heading into the match with the return of forward Mitch Creek, but it was guard Shannon Shorter who led the charge against the visiting Breakers.

Shorter finished the night with 23 points, eight rebounds and five assists to help consolidate Adelaide's top four position, while the loss meant the Breakers relinquished the top spot to the Perth Wildcats.

The fast break from dead ball situations seemed to work wonders for the home side, who dropped 21 points on the break to the Breakers' nine.

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The visitors didn't help themselves, though, as fouls plagued their performance all night. The New Zealand side committed 26 fouls to Adelaide's 17. As a result, the hosts had 30 shots from the charity stripe, hitting 23.

The first half added to the Breakers' undoing, as a slow start saw them trail by 11 at half time.

Shorter and former NBA forward Josh Childress led the home side's early charge, combining to score 22 of the 36ers' 49 first-half points as the Breakers struggled from the floor.

The New Zealand side were held to 38 first-half points, scoring just 17 in the opening 10 minutes.

However, the tables turned in the third quarter as the Breakers came out looking to eat away at the deficit.

Sosa took the reins out of the break, scoring eight third-quarter points the lead the comeback effort.

Outscoring the 36ers 23-19 in the third period, the Breakers had the momentum with them in the final stanza. With Adelaide ahead by seven and 10 minutes to play, the Breakers were far from out of it.

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Within a minute, the Breakers closed the gap to just htree points with back to back baskets from Shea Ili and DJ Newbill.

But fouls allowed Adelaide to increase their lead from the free throw line and it seemed each time the Breakers closed in, they'd commit anouther foul on a shooter to relieve the pressure.

As a result, the Breakers weren't able to steal a win in the final moments - falling to a three-point loss, with Sosa and swingman Thomas Abercrombie (14) the only Breakers to score in double digits.

After the match, coach Paul Henare slammed the Breakers' mentality in the match and said their mental preperation might need work.

"I thought our mindset was not in the right place," Henare said. "Dead ball situations and they're getting fast breaks and pushing it down our throats is a worry."

36ers 88 (Shorter 23, Childress 17)
Breakers 85 (Sosa 24, Abercrombie 14)
HT: 49-39.