Hawks mauled by merciless Wildcats

The Wollongong Hawks were completely out of their depth against a ruthless Perth Wildcats tonight at Perth Arena.

After leading briefly in the opening minutes, the Hawks were savaged by the Wildcats, crashing to an 87-47 loss.

The 40-point trouncing was among the worst in club history for Wollongong and was also one of their all-time lowest points totals.

Perth held a commanding 30-11 quarter-time lead and stretched it to 49-29 at the main break.

Wildcats guards Jermaine Beal and Damian Martin laid the platform for victory with hot three-point shooting in the first half.

The pair combined for 30 points in the opening two periods, as the Cats hit 10/16 threes as a team.

Wollongong couldn’t get untracked at the other end, making just 27 per cent of their shots in the first half. They finished at 30 per cent for the game.

Beal scored a game-high 21 points, Martin had 16, while NBL scoring leader James Ennis finished with 17 after a scoreless first half.

Oscar Forman led the Hawks with 12 points but no other player reached double figures.

‘‘They came out and shot the lights out from the three-point line,’’ Wollongong coach Gordie McLeod said.

‘‘We got beat in all the effort areas of the game. It’s always been the way when we play the Wildcats. We get smashed on the boards, we get taken out of our offence and we don’t run our counters.

‘‘Our guards were very poor and didn’t run the ship, and our new guys struggled ... so it was a real welcome to the NBL and what it’s all about.’’

Wollongong copped a mauling under the boards, grabbing just 26 rebounds compared to 47 for the Cats.

Unbeaten Perth tightened their grip on top spot, improving their record to a perfect 6-0.

The Hawks dropped to 1-3 for the season and will be hoping for a much better performance when they host titleholders New Zealand on Sunday afternoon at WIN Entertainment Centre.

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