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

Taipans stop rot with NBL win over Hawks

AAP logoAAP 17/12/2016 Josh Bristow

The Taipans have broken a two-game losing streak to record their biggest win of the NBL season, beating the Illawarra Hawks 99-82 in Cairns.

Sitting last on the NBL ladder, the Snakes on Saturday were desperate to avoid a third consecutive loss at the Snakepit, and this time it was finally their turn to be on the right end of a second-half comeback.

Cairns began the match with a Nate Jawai alley-oop courtesy of a Travis Trice assist, but it was Illawarra who would dominate the first half.

Hawks import Rotnei Clarke continued his blistering form from the bench, gunning down an early 10-point Taipan lead to put the visitors in front by eight at the main break.

The former MVP was in everything, recording 21 points that included a tough fade-away and-one and also producing several defensive stops on Cairns point guard Trice.

But the prospect of their third consecutive home-court defeat at the Cairns Convention Centre spurred the Taipans in the second half, with Trice in particular rediscovering his groove to hit a deep, buzzer-beating three to leave Cairns ahead by eight points at the end of the third quarter.

From there, Snakes veteran Alex Loughton hit a couple of buckets to kill the contest, while Trice's jumper became automatic on his way to 22 points, five assists and two blocks.

Illawarra coach Rob Beveridge blamed his side's 43 per cent shooting rate from the field for the momentum-halting loss.

"We missed six open lay-ups so that's the game right there, particularly here where the crowd are really behind them. We just fell apart," he said.

Cairns coach Aaron Fearne credited the win with a change in attitude from his men.

"There's been a lot of negative energy around this group and in this league that can cost you points, so we really fixed that tonight," he said.

Illawarra play the Bullets in Brisbane on Monday, and Cairns have a Christmas break before returning to action against Melbourne on December 29.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon