Terrance McGee watched the clock tick towards zero, bowed courteously in front of the fans and did what Birmingham Bullets had done for much of the second half.

He presented the ball to Jerry Williams.

That was the ever-imaginative point guard's own way of saying thanks after his best mate helped save Genesis Brighton Bears from embarrassment.

Bears, driven by defensive energy, rode the first triple-double of Williams' professional career to see off rock-bottom Birmingham at the Brighton Centre.

The Bullets, revitalised by two inspired 11th-hour signings, led by 13 in the third quarter and were still 77-67 to the good when Yorick Williams layed one in with 33 seconds to go in the period.

But the hosts went on a 12-0 run to get back in the game and showed the greater self-belief in the final six minutes as Bullets struggled to cope with a full court press and trapping defence.

Bears piled up 16 steals, 13 of them in the second half, and forced 22 Bullets turnovers, leading to to 25 home points.

And no-one took more advantage of that than Jerry Williams.

His five steals will reinforce his status as league leader in that department. But it was the 34 points (on 15-of-23 shooting), ten rebounds and ten assists that were the talk of the evening.

Williams, the man Bears so often look to for a spark, said: "I wasn't worried about the stats until we were up by about six. Then I heard I was like 30, nine and nine.

"It's a good feeling, my first triple-double as a professional. I had a couple in college but this feels pretty good."

Bullets made a far better game of it than the final margin suggests and Williams admitted there were problems to solve at half time.

He said: "Birmingham came in with a point to prove to the league and played well.

"We knew we had to play defence. We were getting the shots we wanted but we knew at half time, if we stopped them from getting shots, we would be able to win."

Rudy Wallace, a livewire little American point guard picked up from the airport on the way to Brighton, made four of eight three-point attempts in the first half for the visitors.

But he missed all four of his long range shots in the second half and got a bit mixed up when he called for a timeout during open play, which is permitted in the States but not in the BBL.

Johnny Phillips, the 6ft 10in centre back for a second spell, also did a good job for Bullets, picking up a double-double.

Yorick Williams, back on his old home court, hit five threes from 12 attempts but admitted: "The fourth quarter killed us."

In fact, Bears' fitness is turning them into a fourth-quarter team.

Ronnie Baker brought energy off the bench and Andrew Alleyne's double-double included the dunk from Jerry Williams' pass which brought up the latter's tenth assist with 29 seconds remaining.

Bears went six-for-14 from outside the arc in the second half as things opened up for them.

McGee said: "Jerry and Drew kept us in it. We kept riding and riding them and that opened up doors for everyone else."

Which is why McGee made a point of bowing to Jerry Williams and ceremonially handing over the ball at the end.

"He played great, he deserved it," said McGee. "But we always push each other and help each other along."