The Wollongong Hawks slipped a spot on the NBL ladder with last night’s 69-64 road loss to Townsville.
Wollongong (11-15) were outright third before the game but are now sharing fourth spot with Sydney with two games remaining.
Despite the loss, the Hawks will still be assured of a semi-finals berth if they wrap up the regular season with wins over Sydney and Adelaide, both of which are at home.
Former Wollongong star Gary Ervin led the Crocodiles to last night’s victory with a game-high 24 points, while centre Luke Nevill added 13.
Adris Deleon tallied 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists for the visitors and Malcolm Grant finished with 10 points.
Dave Gruber chipped in 10 points off the bench for the Hawks and centre Larry Davidson had eight points and eight rebounds.
Wollongong were up 32-30 at half-time but took almost five minutes of the third quarter to re-ignite their scoring.
The Crocs grabbed the upper hand and led 51-43 at three-quarter time.
Wollongong typically refused to quit, cutting a 12-point deficit to a single point with 17 seconds to play.
Townsville sealed the win with four straight free throws in the closing stages.
The Hawks return to Wollongong this evening and have shifted their focus to this Friday’s huge round 23 clash with the Kings at WIN Entertainment Centre.