Cairns import Demetri McCamey drained a pressure shot on the full-time siren to sink the Wollongong Hawks 79-77 in a thriller today at WIN Entertainment Centre.
Wollongong’s Kevin Tiggs tied the score with 4.6 seconds left before McCamey rushed the ball downcourt and squeezed off the game-winner over the out-stretched hand of Oscar Forman.
The Hawks (6-10) dropped a spot to sixth and have to quickly regroup for this week’s double against New Zealand (away) and Melbourne (home).
Tiggs scored a game-high 27 points, Rotnei Clarke had 15 but made just 5/15 shots, while Forman, Dave Gruber and Tim Coenraad finished with 10 apiece.
McCamey led the Taipans with 20, Stephen Weigh was instrumental with 18 and Jamar Wilson added 16.
The Hawks were in control throughout the first two quarters and held a comfortable 49-33 half-time lead.
They managed just 10 points in the third period but still held a 59-51 lead heading into the final quarter.
Weigh, McCamey and Alex Loughton nailed clutch three-pointers to bring Cairns back, setting up a nailbiting finish which featured five lead changes in the final minute.
‘‘In the third quarter our offensive execution and decision-making was very poor, and you’re going to pay in this league if you do that,’’ Wollongong coach Gordie McLeod said.
‘‘We tended to get stagnant and the ball stopped moving.
‘‘Every game we’ve played against this team is always a tight contest, and they’re going to be at you right to the end.
‘‘They made the big plays down the stretch. We made some big plays to be there as well, but in the end they made the one that counted.’’
Cairns’ victory kept the four-game series alive with the Hawks.
They meet again for the last time in the regular season on March 8 in Wollongong.
The Hawks hope to have guard Tyson Demos back for this week’s clashes with the Breakers and Tigers after he missed today’s game with a leg infection.