Hawks cool on foul

THEY refuse to blow up publicly but the Wollongong Hawks reckon the referees missed a huge call in last Friday's 91-90 overtime loss to Adelaide.

Sixers centre Daniel Johnson should have been whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul when he pulled Wollongong forward Tim Coenraad's jersey late in the fourth quarter.

The Hawks were attempting to inbound the ball at Adelaide's end of the court at the time and would have received two free throws.

More importantly, they would have retained possession after Coenraad's free throws.

The FIBA rulebook states "during the last two minutes of the fourth period and during the last two minutes of each extra period, the ball is out-of-bounds for a throw-in ... if at this moment a defensive player on the playing court causes contact with a player of the offensive team on the playing court and a foul is called, it is an unsportsmanlike foul".

The refs pinged Johnson for a regular foul the moment Coenraad caught the inbounds pass, but they missed the big one a second earlier.

Yesterday Coenraad confirmed his shirt had been tugged, though he wasn't about to blame his team's 13th loss in 16 games on poor officiating.

"I looked at the game on video and Johnson definitely yanked my jersey, but the refs might've just taken their eyes off for a second," he said.

"We miss shots, we miss layups and we miss free throws, and refs miss something every now and then.

"In the heat of the moment with the emotions flowing, I saw it differently. I was asking him to watch my shirt being pulled because it happened on several occasions, but refs are human and they make mistakes like players do.

"We had our opportunities. We were up by eight with a minute to go and we let that slip, so it's definitely not on the referees.

"We can't look at anybody but ourselves for screwing that up. The bottom line is that we had that lead and we blew it. We made poor decisions and there's no-one to blame but us."

Wollongong's fourth loss from as many overtime games took the gloss off Coenraad's career-high 28 points.

"It's always good to see some progress and see the ball go through the hole," he said.

"To have an offensive game like that brings your confidence up a little bit, but it certainly would've been a lot sweeter with a win."

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