ILLAWARRA’S NBL season has moved to ‘situation critical’ after being edged out 99-94 by Sydney in an overtime thriller in Wollongong on Sunday.
Kings guard Jason Cadee and Hawks big man AJ Ogilvy both had the chance to ice the game from the foul-line in the dying seconds of regular time, but couldn’t get their shots to drop.
Cadee had been red-hot for the night with 19 points, including five of seven from long-range, but inexplicably missed a pair of free throws as his side clung to a two-point lead with 16 seconds left.
It allowed the Hawks to shoot up the floor and find AJ Ogilvy for the lay-up and leveler. He was fouled in the process but couldn’t sink the and-one, sending the match into overtime.
Moments earlier, the Hawks bench was left livid after Mitch Norton was fouled en route to the basket. His lay-up sunk only be waved away with the Hawks getting the ball back at the base-line.
The visitors lifted in overtime, with Ellis and Brad Newley hitting back to back threes to start extra time period with the Hawks unable to reel the visitors in from there.
Days after giving up 17 turnovers in a 31-point drubbing at the hands of Perth, the Hawks were again their own worst enemy, coughing up possession 23 times.
They were punished to the tune of 30 points from turnovers, that stat alone proving the difference. It left coach Rob Beveridge bemoaning the telling numbers post-match.
“That’s the game right there,” Beveridge said.
“We got to a point where we’ve lost respect for the ball. We actually play some great basketball at times, and then we’re very, very flippant at times.
“I thought this could’ve been a turning point for us. I thought we played really well in that first half, we were up by six or eight points, and we coughed [the ball] up.
“They went bang, bang, bang and they were straight back in the game. It’s pretty frustrating.
“I know how hard our start of the season is with all the road games but, we’ve got to win at home, we’ve got to protect the home court.
“You’re sitting there as a coach thinking ‘right here we go’. You can feel the crowd getting into it and then all of a sudden it’s like sticking a pin in a balloon, it just deflates.
“It’s so up and down and we’re just trying to become consistent. That’s where we’re struggling right now, we’re just not clicking at this stage, it’s as simple as that.”
It leaves the Hawks season at 1-5 (1-1 at home) ahead of Friday’s road clash in Brisbane and a rematch with the Kings in Sydney on Sunday.
With their play-offs hopes already hanging by a thread, the Hawks won’t return to their home floor until round seven with four of their next six games coming on the road.
Perry Ellis led the Kings with 22 points while Cadee had 21, Todd Blanchfield added 15 and Travis Leslie contributed 14.
Ogilvy had his first double-double of the season with 22 points and 11 rebounds, though he had nine turnovers to go with it. Rotnei Clarke had 21 points while Nick Kay and Delvon Johnson (10 points) were the other Hawks in double figures.
Tim Coenraad was also among the Hawks best at the defensive end, with three blocks, three steals and six rebounds in a cameo that turned momentum in the third term.
This story originally appeared in the Illawarra Mercury