The Townsville Crocodiles averted equalling their longest losing streak, beating the Adelaide 36ers 75-73 in a nail-biting encounter in Townsville on Friday night.
A Gary Ervin fade-away put the Crocs up by one with 33 seconds to play before the dynamic point guard sunk four free-throws to deliver his side their first win of the year.
Ervin (22 points, 5 assists, 6 rebounds) carried the load all night for the Crocs, while Jacob Holmes was a monster with 16 rebounds.
For the 36ers, guard Adam Gibson (17 points, 7 assists) was brilliant down the stretch but missed two crucial free throws, while backcourt partner Jason Cadee (13 points) was also solid.
Crocs coach Paul Woolpert said he was proud of his side's composure in the dying minutes of the game.
"I was happy with our execution down the stretch, defensively we were outstanding throughout the game... we were very physical defensively," he said.
"(Adam) Gibson made some phenomenal plays down the stretch , they made a lot of runners, they made some big shots, but we made some plays to get the win.
"(Jason) Cadee and Gibson made some really difficult shots, but if you contest shots and defend and they make great shorts - good for them."
Adelaide coach Marty Clarke said he didn't feel any additional pain having lost to the Crocs, who had lost their first 10 games of the season.
"Teams aren't going to go through not winning a game," he said.
"We missed shots inside the key, missed layups, clanked free-throws and we didn't get to the free-throw line enough.
Led by Ervin and Michael Cedar, the Crocs closed out the first quarter with a 12-2 run to lead by nine points.
The 36ers then went on a 8-0 run on the back of twin towers Luke Schenscher and Daniel Johnson, but eight consecutive points from Ervin ensured the Crocs were tied at the main break.
The 36ers again attacked through their big men in the third term, triggering an 8-3 run that threatened to take the game out of Townsville's reach.
But two threes by Peter Crawford and Mitch Norton put the Crocs ahead before Adelaide's CJ Massingale hit a runner on the three-quarter-time buzzer.
Cedar hit two huge triples in the opening five minutes of the final quarter, but Gibson responded with two long bombs, a driving bucket and a fade-away 15-footer to put his side within two.
The London Olympian then made a drive and dish to Anthony Petrie for a three-point play, which put the 36ers up by one with a minute remaining.
But Ervin then produced his last-minute heroics and Gibson couldn't convert from the foul line, allowing the deafening Townsville crowd finally celebrated a victory.
Despite scoring just four points, Woolpert said the addition of centre Luke Nevill spread the 36ers defence out and made it easier for his guard to operate, while his team now just needs to focus on one game at a time.
"We played games earlier this year where we played well enough to win, and I just told the guys throughout that losing streak they were still a pleasure to coach, they did their job everyday and they were extraordinarily positive, and that says a lot about them," he said.
Townsville Crocodiles 75 (Ervin 22, M Cedar 11)
Adelaide 36ers 73 (Gibson 17, Cadee 13)
Crowd: 3255 at Townsville Entertainment Centre