R5 Report: Hawks swoop in on Taipans
The CQUniversity Cairns Taipans travelled to WIN Entertainment Centre in Wollongong and went down fighting by a single point against the Illawarra Hawks on Thursday night.
The Taipans were ready to battle it out for Adam Forde’s 100th game (as an NBL Head Coach) and all eyes were on the Taipans in their long-awaited return from the club's first NBLxNBA tournament.
Cairns entered the game with Patrick Miller, Sam Mennenga, Lat Mayen, Sam Waardenburg and Bul Kuol while the Hawks went with Tyler Harvey, Justin Robinson, Gary Clark, Wani Swaka Lo Bukuk and Sam Froling for their starting line-up.
In the first quarter, first points came from a slam down from Sam Froling for two before Taipans points from the charity strip.
Sam Waardenburg and Bul Kuol would both offer up four points for the Taipans, although the Hawks led at the first break 24-15.
Cairns’ guard Patrick Miller kicked off the scoring in the second quarter with a clean layup that ignited a fightback from the Taipans.
Heading into the main break, the deficit was shortened to be only six points, with the Hawks leading 44-38.
For the first half Sam Froling led scoring for the Hawks with ten points and seven rebounds while Bul Kuol sinking 15 for the Taipans in the half.
The Taipans reduced the margin back to one point in the third with the Hawks leading 61-60 at the final break, thanks to a huge individual effort from Waardenburg of nine points.
The final quarter saw the Taipans lock the game up with a three-point shot hitting off the hands of Sam Mennenga, score levelled at 64-64.
The Cairns side then took the lead Taipans before guard Hyungjung Lee playing off the bench locked it up 69-69.
The Taipans came so close to returning home with the win, leading 83-81 with .09 on the clock after a two point pull up shot hit from Miller.
But it was not to be Cairns’ night and it was Tyler Harvey once again breaking hearts, with the American product hitting the deep three as they slowed the clock to take the win 84-83.
Harvey finished the game as lead contributor for the Hawks with 20 points and five assists, while Sam Froling smashed the glass in true Froling fashion with 13 boards.
For the Taipans, Patrick Miller finished as top scorer with 24 points, six rebounds and seven assists in another huge performance for the stat leader.
The Taipans will now head home for a recovery session, but they won’t have time to relax with a huge clash with the defending champions the Sydney Kings on Saturday with tip-off at 7:00pm. Click HERE for tickets.