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Hawks soar over Crocs

Published: 6:41AM Sunday December 11, 2005 Source: Reuters

The Wollongong Hawks have continued their domination of the Townsville Crocodiles, beating the hosts for the 13th straight time 128-118 at the Swamp.

Mat Campbell led a three point shooting blitz by the Hawks, nailing a career high nine triples in his tally of 36 while import Cortez Groves added another seven baskets from outside to finish with 32.

Import Larry Abney plugged away inside all night pulling down 29 rebounds to go with 18 points while Kelvin Robertson and Brad Newley led a late charge to finish with 27 and 24 points respectively.

Wollongong's total of 22 three pointers was a club record and only one shy of the NBL's all-time record set by the Brisbane Bullets two years ago.

The Hawks led by just four at halftime but quickly turned it in to a 20 point break with an 18-2 run to start the third term.

More renowned for their stingy defence, Hawks coach Brendan Joyce was pleased his team was able to win a shootout against one of the league's most potent offensive outfits.

"I was hoping it wouldn't be a high scoring affair," Joyce said.

"Townsville like to play that way and we needed to match them and we did."

While Campbell produced a career high, Joyce was full of praise for star import Groves who has been in dynamic form all season.

"Cortez is obviously a key to us when the game gets tight," Joyce said.

"Probably now he's been the best player in the league the last two months with Abney.

The Crocs' perimeter defence has been a weak point all season and coach Ian Stacker admitted he didn't know what the problem was.

"We were trying to reduce the amount of times guys were meant to be open yet there seemed to be guys left open all the time," Stacker said.

"They really shot the ball well I thought. Some of them were defensive breakdowns, some of them were pretty tough shots.

"Cortez and Mat Campbell were obviously feeling pretty confident tonight.

"I didn't think we did a job of putting them under any pressure with any shots."

Hunter's win on Friday night and this result left Townsville languishing in ninth spot on the table with the Crocs facing a tough task to even make the top eight.

"It's getting kind of uncomfortable yeah", Stacker said.

"The penny hasn't dropped on how we need to play yet - you think it would. All we can do is keep trying."

The Hawks finish their Sunshine Swing against the Taipans in Cairns on Sunday.