Finally the Wollongong Hawks can smile again.
After enduring seven straight defeats and the recent loss of three members of their starting five to season-ending knee injuries, the Hawks reignited their quest for a finals berth with tonight's comprehensive 86-78 road victory over the Adelaide 36ers.
The win kept Wollongong (9-10) in fourth spot, while the 36ers (6-14) remain stuck at the bottom of the ladder.
Playing their first game since the retirement of teammate Glen Saville, the Hawks played with more purpose and desire than their opponents from start to finish.
Import Malcolm Grant starred with a team-high 21 points (4/5 three-pointers) and captain Oscar Forman tallied 18 points and seven rebounds.
Centre Larry Davidson had his best game in weeks with 14 points and 10 rebounds, Tim Coenraad was prominent with 11 points and six rebounds, while Adris Deleon and Dan Jackson combined for 15 points.
The Hawks connected on 51 per cent of their field goal attempts and out-rebounded the Sixers 28-26.
After racing to an 11-2 early lead, Wollongong allowed the home team to briefly forge ahead before back-up centre Auryn MacMillan scored to give the visitors an 18-17 quarter-time lead.
Forman was running hot, while Grant also got cooking, as the Hawks pushed the stretched the margin to 40-27 at half-time.
Forman led the way with 13 points and Davidson gave his side a strong inside presence.
Grant ensured the Hawks started positively with five quick points and Coenraad's three-pointer gave them a commanding 19-point lead barely two minutes into the third period.
They maintained a double-digit advantage before the Sixers rallied and cut the margin to eight with a quarter to play.
The Hawks responded again and led by as many as 19 in the fourth quarter before the Sixers made the margin more respectable with a late flurry of points.
Wollongong head to Perth tomorrow to prepare for a Sunday night stoush with the Wildcats.