Containing Goulding key for Hawks

BASKETBALL

As the Hawks prepare for the second leg of their double-header with the Tigers in Wollongong tomorrow, coach Gordie McLeod admits containing Melbourne linchpin Chris Goulding will be easier said than done.

The NBL's leading scorer produced 30 points for the Tigers, 14 of them in the final quarter, to hand the Hawks a 74-67 defeat on Friday.

The flurry thwarted a valiant Hawks, who overturned a 12-point deficit to lead with three minutes remaining.

In a match where the Hawks outscored the Tigers 32-16 in the paint, McLeod conceded that a plan to force the Tigers to the outside might have worked a little too well, as Goulding produced 21 points from the perimeter.

"You've got to pick your poison," McLeod said.

"We had a game plan and we did a pretty good job of doing that [forcing shots from the perimeter] and some of those shots were tough. But you've got to give him [Goulding] credit, and the Tigers credit.

"They made some big plays down the stretch and we didn't. And that was the difference in the game.

"That happens sometimes, but we should take a lot of positives from it. The good thing is we play them again in a couple of days time."

McLeod said limiting Goulding's opportunities would be crucial in tomorrow's return clash.

"What we needed to do a bit better was to not allow him to get in positions to do that, which is easier said than done.

"There's not a lot you can change, but we've just got to refine the way we defend certain situations."

Despite producing their best quarter of the season in the third term to outscore the Tigers 29-18, the Hawks were poorer from long range, hitting just seven out of 22 shots from the perimeter.

Captain Oscar Forman hit two crucial threes either side of half-time to help overturn the deficit. But he couldn't fire in the crucial fourth quarter, ending the night with two from eight.

Star import Rotnei Clarke top-scored for the Hawks with 16 points.

McLeod said an improved shooting performance, particularly in key moments, could bring about a quick turnaround.

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