American duo Rotnei Clarke and Kevin Tiggs sparked the Wollongong Hawks to a pressure-relieving 85-81 triumph over Townsville on Saturday night at WIN Entertainment Centre.
Clarke bounced back from last week’s poor shooting night with 23 points and five assists, while Tiggs was the hero off the bench with 20 points, five rebounds and two steals in 18 minutes.
The win was a fitting exclamation point on the Hawks’ 1000th-game celebrations.
Wollongong led at the end of every quarter, registering their first victory of the season after losses to New Zealand and Adelaide.
Tim Coenraad finished with 10 points, Oscar Forman tallied nine points and five rebounds, while Larry Davidson had eight points and seven rebounds.
Rebounding was an issue for the Hawks. They allowed the Crocodiles to grab 17 offensive boards and were out-scored 17-0 on second-chance points.
But the home team shot the ball more accurately (49 per cent to Townsville’s 44) and did a good job of getting to the free throw line far more often (19/23 foul shots to the Crocs’ 5/6).
The Hawks face a tough double next weekend, taking on unbeaten Perth on Friday night before returning for Sunday’s home meeting with titleholders New Zealand.