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Hawks tame Wildcats in NBL clash

AAP logoAAP 28/10/2016

The Illawarra Hawks have held their nerve to secure a tight 81-76 victory over NBL titleholders Perth on Friday at WIN Entertainment Centre.

After winning in round one against Adelaide, the Hawks lost four straight before grinding out the much-needed win over the Wildcats.

Illawarra import Marvelle Harris was the best player on the court with a game-high 27 points, while Perth were led by American forward Casey Prather's 20 points.

The score was locked at 24-all at quarter-time before the Hawks clawed their way to a 47-45 halftime lead with American centre Mike Holyfield's dunk in the final moments of the second period.

Illawarra were up by five at three-quarter time and were up by as many as 10 before the Cats fought back in the final period.

The Hawks made it hard on themselves by missing important free throws but did enough to seal victory.

Illawarra play their fourth game in nine days when they host the Cairns Taipans on Sunday night.

Perth are back on deck with next Friday's round five home game against the Adelaide 36ers.

"Tonight really showed that we're evolving as a group, that we can grind out those kinds of wins, so there's good progression for us there," Illawarra coach Rob Beveridge said.

"There was enormous amount of external pressure put on the guys and we addressed certain things this week with a few home truths. The guys were great. They all stood up and showed their character.""I just came out being aggressive and got back to the way I play," Hawks import Marvelle Harris said."The guys told me to play my game and had confidence in me, and that always helps.""You can make all the excuses about injuries and whatever else but we had our opportunities and didn't make some open looks in the fourth quarter," Perth coach Trevor Gleeson said."We had our chances and we didn't execute in the fourth quarter," Wildcats forward Shawn Redhage said."We'll learn from this and the adversity we faced this week will help us down the line."

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