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Hawks stun Kings in coach's 300th NBL game

Illawarra coach Rob Beveridge has celebrated his 300th NBL game in style, guiding the Hawks to a 78-71 upset of competition leaders Sydney in Wollongong.

Hawks stun Kings in coach's 300th NBL game

Illawarra coach Rob Beveridge has celebrated his 300th NBL game in style, guiding the Hawks to a 78-71 upset of competition leaders Sydney in Wollongong.

The Illawarra Hawks have bounced back from a home loss to Brisbane with a shock 78-71 win over NBL leaders Sydney.

American forward Brian Conklin hit six straight free throws in the final quarter to finish with 17 points in an unfamiliar role off the bench in Wollongong on Saturday.


Fellow back-up Tim Coenraad tallied a team-high 18 points as the Hawks marked coach Rob Beveridge's 300th NBL game with a win.

Thrashed by the Bullets on New Year's Eve, Illawarra kept their slim finals hopes alive with their eighth win of the season.

"It was amazing to see where we came from last week to where we were tonight against the No.1 team in the league," Beveridge said.

"They've got the most talent in the league and we did a hell of a job taking them out of a lot of their stuff from a defensive perspective."

The Kings slipped to 11-6 for the season and coach Andrew Gaze was concerned with his team's patchy performance.

"Illawarra were almost to the script how I predicted to the guys they would come out, based on what happened last week, and what I envisaged and feared came to fruition in the first half," Gaze said.

Captain Kevin Lisch answered the bell in crunch time to almost inspire the Kings to an unlikely win, scoring 11 of his game-high 19 points in the final quarter.

The result remained in the balance before Conklin's free throws in the closing seconds sealed victory.

Jerome Randle had 13 points for Sydney, while Andrew Bogut finished with eight points, 19 rebounds and four blocks.

But Sydney were badly out of sync, hitting just 9/32 shots and missing nine of 10 three-point attempts as the Hawks stretched the lead to 38-26 at halftime.

Sydney wasted no time erasing the deficit, opening the third period with a 12-1 run.

But the Hawks regrouped, answering with a surge of their own to take a 60-52 lead into the final quarter.

The Hawks held their nerve, with Conklin's free throws ensuring a well-deserved win.

AAP


AAP




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