The Wollongong Hawks have survived double overtime to defeat the Adelaide 36ers 105-104 in their opening clash of the NBL Pre-season Tournament at Dandenong.
Hawks import Lance Hurdle made the winning shot for his team with 2.6 seconds left in the second extra period.
Rhys Martin had 24 points, nine rebounds and five assists for the Hawks, while Dave Gruber added 19 points and 12 boards. Oscar Forman also added 15 points for Wollongong.
Daniel Johnson had a game-high 32 points and six rebounds for the 36ers, while new signings Luke Schenscher 15 points, seven rebounds) and Adam Gibson (14 points, eight assists).
Adelaide started the game strongly with a 5-0 run before Oscar Forman drained a three to open the scoring for the Hawks. Wollongong steadied but a CJ Massingale two with five seconds remaining gave the 36ers a 23-19 quarter time lead.
In the second period Massingale exploded early, scoring seven points in a minute and a half but the Hawks were finding the basket as well and with six and a half minutes remaining in the quarter the 36ers lead remained modest at five points.
Some great team basketball by the Sixers after a Marty Clarke timeout saw Adelaide gradually build their buffer to double-digits. When Adam Gibson made a deuce with 2:32 on the clock, the 36ers held a 13-point lead, 46-33.
Wollongong worked hard but were unable to make significant inroads into the lead by the half and trailed 50-41 at the main break.
The Hawks came out of the change rooms after the half clearly fired up, and on the back of a pair of Forman triples started a charge. Wollongong went on a 12-2 run to start the second half, capping it with Forman’s second trifecta to give Wollongong their first lead of the game, 53-52.
Adelaide steadied, however, and by three-quarter time had re-established a lead, 68-64.
Adelaide looked poised to run away with the game at the start of the final period, and when Adam Gibson made an old fashioned three-point play with 6:59 remaining the Sixers led by nine, 75-66.
The Hawks refused to go quietly into the night however and after a rapid-fire 9-0 run punctuated by a triple from import Adris Deleon, Wollongong levelled the scores at 75-75 with five minutes to play.
Neither team could gain a decisive edge in the closing minutes and scores were tied at 3.6 seconds remaining when the Sixers took a timeout to draw up a play for the final possession.
It wasn’t to be however as Adris Deleon drew the offensive foul on Daniel Johnson with 1.3 seconds remaining giving the Hawks a sniff of victory. Out of the timeout Forman took the pass, shook his man off with a dribble to his left and managed to get a shot off that missed, sending the game to overtime.
The first overtime remained close but when Martin hit a step-back jumper with 16.9 remaining to give the Hawks a 97-94 lead, the Hawks looked to have the game in hand. With 8.6 seconds remaining however Johnson hit a three to tie the game again at 97-97. Deleon couldn’t make a triple attempt to end the contest and the match went to a second extra period.
In the second overtime, Hurdle scored on the clear-out with a jumper to give the Hawks a 105-104 lead with 2.6 on the clock. Schenscher got off a hook shot for the win but it failed to connect and the Hawks took the win.
Souring the victory somewhat, Wollongong’s Larry Davidson went down with a knee injury and will likely miss the remainder of the tournament as a precautionary measure.