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Wollongong Hawks score breakthrough win

Jahii Carson storms through during the game. Picture: GREG TOTMANBASKETBALL – HAWKS

Forty-nine days and 11 losses after they last tasted victory, the Wollongong Hawks finally won a game on Friday night at WIN Entertainment Centre.

The Hawks cruised to an unexpectedly easy 90-76 triumph over the Townsville Crocodiles, avenging last Sunday’s 32-point loss in Townsville.

Wollongong’s previous win was against the Crocs in round one on October 10.

Forward Tim Coenraad was the man of the hour for the Hawks, pouring in 24 points, four shot of his career high.

American guard Gary Ervin (14 points) played an inspired game off the bench just days after learning his cousin had died.

Captain Oscar Forman finished with 13 points, while Jahii Carson added 10.

Forward Brian Conklin was Townsville’s best player with 17 points.

The Hawks hit 50 per cent of their shots and harassed the Crocs into 18 turnovers.

Wollongong led at every change and gave 2200 win-starved fans something to celebrate.

‘‘We spoke about the importance of setting a tempo early and we did a fantastic job of that,’’ Hawks coach Gordie McLeod said.

‘‘The effort levels were really good, our spacing was good, we had good ball movement and good player movement.

‘‘To see 19 assists, that means the ball’s getting through hands.

‘‘We had a good balance of inside outside.

‘‘The foundation was laid with our defence. We had four good quarters with our defence tonight and that made a huge difference.’’

Coenraad scored his team’s first six points but the Crocs held a 10-6 lead after the opening minutes.

Coenraad scored another basket before Ervin added four points on a pair of lay-ups.

Wollongong ran off 15 unanswered points before ex-Hawks guard Mirko Djeric’s jump-shot in the paint broke the drought.

The Crocs hit trimmed the margin to six before Luke Nevill’s lay-up on the buzzer put the home team up 27-19 at quarter-time.

Coenraad had 12 points on perfect 6/6 shooting and Adam Ballinger had six points, as Wollongong made an impressive 57 per cent of the field goals.

The Hawks continued to play with confidence and the lead swelled to 15 early in the second period.

Conklin’s power and quickness in the low post caused Wollongong problems, but the Crocs were having all kinds of issues of their own at the defensive end.

Unlike last Sunday’s questionable effort, the Hawks were all passion and precision, building a well-deserved 50-36 half-time lead.

Coenraad had 14 points, Ervin was up to 10, while Ballinger and Nevill combined for 12.

Conklin had effectively played a lone hand for Townsville with 15.

The Hawks connected on 55 per cent of their shots and forced their opponents into 10 turnovers.

They showed no signs of choking in the third quarter, assertively pushing the margin out to 21.

Crocs coach Shawn Dennis was prepared to try anything, substituting his entire line-up at one stage.

The unusual move did the trick, as Townsville chipped away to trail 69-54 at three-quarter time.

Coenraad had upped his tally to 24, while Conklin was kept scoreless.

Wollongong maintained control in the fourth period, improving their record to 2-11 ahead of next week’s road clash with titleholders Perth.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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