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Hawks fight back to beat 36ers in NBL

NZN 12/11/2016 Steve Barrett

The Illawarra Hawks have dug their way out of a 16-point second-quarter hole to mow down the Adelaide 36ers 85-74 in Saturday's NBL match at Titanium Security Arena.

With five players hitting double digits, led by Mitch Norton and Rotnei Clarke (13 points apiece), the visitors patiently ate into the deficit before assuming control of the contest after earlier being riddled with foul woes and copping a hammering on the boards.

The Hawks trailed 28-24 at quarter-time and 46-41 at halftime, with Adelaide's Nathan Sobey active and big Matt Hodgson proving a dominant force in the paint.

Inserted into the starting line-up in the absence of Daniel Johnson, Hodgson was brilliant early and finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds (nine on the offensive glass).

His presence, persistent second efforts and ability to shut down Illawarra star AJ Ogilvy were pivotal in guiding the 36ers to a 42-26 buffer midway through the second before the hosts endured a prolonged cold slump.

The Sixers missed shot after shot, allowing the Hawks to slice the margin to just two points at three-quarter-time.

Stalwart Tim Coenraad's triple to open the fourth gave the visitors their first lead since the opening few minutes, the Sixers' offensive well (31.8 per cent from the field for the match) drying up.

A Brendan Teys deuce with 6:04 left in regulation briefly gave the 36ers the lead back but Illawarra went on another roll to dominate the fourth term 24-11, consigning shellshocked Adelaide to their third straight loss.

Elated Illawarra coach Rob Beveridge said for the Hawks to come back, it was a super, super character win.

"Super proud of the guys hanging in there.

"Everything was backs to the wall so it was pretty special for us."

Adelaide coach Joey Wright was left to lament his side's lacklustre outside shooting, including a horrid two-of-27 clip from three-point territory.

"They did a good job of taking us out of our offensive game plan from the middle of that second quarter onwards.

"We took far too many outside shots.

"We talked a lot about (confronting a) zone before the game - we just didn't make the adjustments."

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