You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Hawks enjoy easy win over Taipans in NBL

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 3/02/2017

Rotnei Clarke © AAP Image/Tony McDonough Rotnei Clarke The Illawarra Hawks have one foot in the finals after thrashing the Cairns Taipans 90-73 on Friday night at WIN Entertainment Centre.

Illawarra's win was their 14th of the season and kept them in second spot with two games remaining.

Cairns slipped to 12-13 and face an uphill battle to claim a top four finish.

The Hawks led by seven at quarter-time and blew the margin out to 20 at halftime.

It was effectively all over when Cairns fell behind by 26 five minutes into the second half.

American sharpshooter Rotnei Clarke poured in 19 points for the Hawks and underrated forward Nick Kay finished with 17

Mitch McCarron top-scored for Cairns with 13, while American forward Tony Mitchell added 12.

Illawarra laid the foundations for victory with one of their hottest shooting performances of the season.

The Hawks connected on a blistering 68 percent of their shots in the first period and surged to a 30-18 lead after eight minutes.

Cairns broke the drought with consecutive baskets in the closing seconds to be down 30-23 at quarter-time.

The Hawks held a 35-30 lead early in the second period before tightening the defensive screws and pushing the margin out to 13 with five minutes left in the half.

Turnovers and missed shots piled up for the Taipans in the final five minutes of the half, while the Hawks remained hot, powering to a 54-34 halftime lead.

They remained in control throughout the second half, though the Taipans caused a scare when they closed the gap to six with four minutes remaining.

Cairns have a short turnaround for Sunday's home game against Perth, while the Hawks face a Monday night road meeting with Melbourne United.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon