Video highlights: Illawarra Hawks outclass New Zealand Breakers in Auckland
Illawarra Hawks have compounded a miserable week for the New Zealand Breakers by securing a hard-fought 95-91 Australian NBL victory in Auckland on Friday.
The Breakers looked lethargic for much of the match, sorely missing star guard Corey Webster who was suspended by the club after he was arrested on a minor assault charge earlier in the week.
The Breakers season-long struggles with ball security continued and the turnovers came with alarming regularity, particularly in the first half when they coughed up 11 to the Hawks' four.
Illawarra's ball speed kept the Breakers defence scrambling and the Kiwis battled to disrupt the Hawks' pace on offence as the Australians opened out to a 29-24 lead at the first break.
The Hawks dominated the second quarter 26-16 to take a 55-40 lead into halftime.
Rob Loe kickstarted the second half for the Breakers with a three-pointer, but Rotnei Clarke continued to dominate the offensive boards for Illawarra.
He also picked up 12 points in the third quarter, including three from long range, as Illawarra matched the Breakers 23-23 to take a 78-63 lead into the final spell.
The Breakers finally found some energy in an often fiery last quarter, reducing the Hawks lead to 82-73 as Tim Coenraad earned an unsportsmanlike conduct warning and fouled out with five minutes remaining.
Marvelle Harris stepped up for the Hawks, adding a couple of crucial three- pointers as part his 17-point haul for the game, but the Breakers continued to push hard and closed the gap to 92-87 with 25 seconds remaining.
The Hawks proved clinical in controlling the closing seconds to take the win, with Clarke (22) and Harris making key contributions.
For the Breakers, guard David Stockton led the way with a game-high 24, backed up by Loe's 21 and centre Akil Mitchell's 12-point, 11-rebound double double.