The Illawarra Hawks triumphed over the New Zealand Breakers 69-65 in a gritty NBL encounter to mark the start of Justin Tatum’s interim tenure.
The Hawks sacked Jacob Jackomas on Tuesday after a 2-7 start to the season that was often hampered by lapses in intensity and hot-and-cold performances by their Three import.
Those issues were far from cured on Sunday, but the side did just enough at the death to come out as the best in a scrappy touch.
Co-captain Sam Froling (16 points, 12 rebounds) was key in giving the Hawks a size advantage over the smaller Breakers, whose import guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright (20 points, six assists) was the best on the hit side.
Another Breakers import, Anthony Lamb (20 points, seven rebounds), hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 65 heading into the final minute and force a Hawks timeout.
After the restart, Hawks forward Gary Clark recovered the ball when Tyler Harvey missed his jump shot and went ahead by two points.
Uncharacteristically on the road for much of the night, Lamb missed a three-pointer that could have put the Breakers ahead in the final 19 seconds.
Instead, Clark sealed Illawarra’s third win of the season when he hit two free throws in the final seven seconds.
Going into the FIBA break, the win draws Illawarra level with the Breakers at the bottom of the table on three wins and seven losses.
Jackson-Cartwright was courageous in the face of early foul trouble, continuing to attack the game through the paint.
Without injured guard Will McDowell-White, it took advantage of a 9-2 run to start the second quarter that lifted the Breakers back into the game.
His influence was later nullified, with bench guard Biwali Bayles in particular doing a great job protecting him on the perimeter.
Each side was able to hinder the other in poor shot selection with their defensive zone, with the Hawks’ accuracy (43 per cent) only slightly better than New Zealand’s (32 per cent) from the field.
Lamb’s early struggles were no favours.
He could only manage one of his eight first attempts from deep and finished with 33 percent accuracy from the field.
At the death, the Hawks made the New Zealanders pay.
Tatum hinted during the week that Next Star AJ Johnson will be a bigger factor for the Hawks later in the season
But aside from a two-handed dunk on Dane Pineau in the first quarter, the 18-year-old had a limited impact on the contest, playing just eight minutes.
Denial of responsibility! vismuseum.org.in is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – at email@example.com The content will be deleted within 24 hours.