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Tapians down Hawks to stay alive in NBL

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 22/01/2017 Josh Bristow

The Cairns Taipans have kept their NBL season alive, narrowly avoiding another fourth-quarter capitulation in a 85-79 win over the second-placed Illawarra Hawks on Sunday.

The six-point win at the Cairns Convention Centre gives the Taipans three victories from as many games against the Hawks this season - and leaves them just two wins from third-placed Perth.

But once again Cairns made it difficult for themselves, allowing a 21-point third quarter lead to evaporate to as little as two in the final stages.

Taipans point guard Travis Trice was influential, helping his team out to their commanding lead and finishing with 16 points and three assists.

But Illawarra star Rotnei Clarke woke from his opening-half slumber to score seven points in succession midway through the third quarter after failing to post a score in the first two quarters.

Clarke combined well with big men Nick Kay and AJ Ogilvy, who scored 20 and 14 points respectively, as the Hawks rattled the Snakes late.

But Cairns captain Cameron Gliddon (18 points) steadied the home side and ensured there was no repeat of their heartbreaking overtime loss to Perth two days prior.

New Taipans import Tony Mitchell had a frustrating home court debut in his second NBL match and drew three fouls in just more than two minutes of playing time, and the two-time NBA D-League champion spent the entire second half on the pine.

Up next for Cairns is a trip to New Zealand to take on the Breakers on Thursday and the Hawks will face off against pacesetters Adelaide on Saturday.

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