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

Clarke steers Hawks to big NBL win

AAP logoAAP 7/01/2017 Tim Keeble

Rotnei Clarke bagged 25 points off the bench to lift Illawarra to a 106-88 NBL win over Melbourne United in Wollongong on Saturday as the visitors' star Chris Goulding missed the second half with injury.

Goulding missed seven of his 10 shots in the first half for just eight points and with the Rio Olympian limping during the halftime break, played no further part in the round-14 clash.

Illawarra boosted their win-loss record to 11-10 to move to third on the ladder as Melbourne United (10-10) fell to fourth.

American guard Clarke tallied a game-high tally for the Hawks, Nick Kay added 20 and AJ Ogilvy finished with 14 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.

Casper Ware top-scored for Melbourne with 21, while Nate Tomlinson and Tai Wesley combined for 31.

The Hawks had an early lead before Goulding connected on a couple of long bombs to put Melbourne up 20-16.

Illawarra forward Oscar Forman provided a lift off the bench by knocking down a pair of timely threes, but Tomlinson replied with his own three-pointer in the closing seconds to lock it up 25-all at quarter-time.

Clarke had his eye in throughout the second period and was up to 15 points by halftime, while Ogilvy and Kay combined for 20.

Goulding was held to eight points on three of 10 shooting, but the visitors drained 11 out of 18 threes as a team to be down 57-51 at halftime.

The Hawks took control in the third period, pushing the margin up to double digits and keeping the upper hand down the stretch.

Melbourne coach Dean Demopoulos claimed to be in the dark about Goulding's injury and offered high praise to the Hawks.

"They played terrific basketball," he said.

"They beat us to the punch from the beginning. Coach (Rob) Beveridge had his team prepared - I did not. End of story, that's the way it goes.

"This league, day in and day out is a snake fight. If you let your guard down you get bit, and hopefully it's not lethal, not yet, but it's getting there."

Melbourne have two games in round 15 - an away clash with Adelaide next Thursday and a home meeting with Cairns on Saturday.

Illawarra's only round 15 game is next Friday at home against Brisbane.

Beveridge said the Hawks redeemed themselves after Thursday night's thrashing from Adelaide.

"The game against Adelaide was as bad as this group has ever played together, but that challenged us," he said.

"Tonight we were outstanding defensively against one of the most potent teams in the league and I'm unbelievably proud of these guys.

"For us to turn that around in 48 hours from a pitiful performance to an outstanding performance shows what a mental game this is."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon