Hawks run away with win over Tigers

Last updated 19:28 25/11/2012
Wollongong
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RUNAWAY WIN: Adris Deleon of the Hawks is challenged by Jonny Flynn of the Tigers.

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Wollongong have strengthened their status as the surprise packets of the NBL season with a run-away win over the Melbourne Tigers.

Second-bottom last season, the Hawks (7-1) climbed to top spot  with their 74-66 win over the struggling Tigers in Melbourne.

Trailing by two points at the last change, Wollongong surged  home, inspired by import Adris Deleon (18 points, five assists).

The former Gold Coast Blaze guard scored seven of the Hawks'  last nine points as they outscored the Tigers 9-2 in the last two  minutes of playing time.

Australian basketball legend Andrew Gaze said Deleon was a major  contributor to the Hawks' dramatic improvement this season, with he  and fellow import Lance Hurdle the main additions to a squad that  won just nine of 28 games last season.

''It's just amazing this Wollongong team,'' Gaze told the Ten  Network.

''I defy anyone that would have suggested after this stage of the  season that they'd be 7-1.''That's just something that you wouldn't have thought on the  back of what we saw last season.

''That just goes to show the impact of two quality players, Adris  Deleon in particular.

''Wollongong coach Gordie McLeod said the performance was far from  perfect but the spirit was strong.

''We've got a lot of hard work to do but I was pleased to play  the way we did and still get away with the win,'' McLeod said.

The second-bottom Tigers slumped to 2-6.Wollongong's win ensured they ended the weekend ahead of New  Zealand, champions of the past two seasons, who started the round  on top.

The Breakers (7-2) were thrashed 89-64 in Perth on Thursday  night to fall to second.

Forward Shawn Redhage returned to form with 20 points for the  Wildcats.

Redhage also played a crucial late hand as the Wildcats won  68-63 in Townsville two days later.

The bottom-placed Crocodiles were within three points and in  possession with seconds to play before a Redhage intercept denied  them a chance to level the game and he iced it from the foul line.

Perth (5-3) are third while Townsville remain winless on the  bottom.

Fifth-placed Sydney (6-4) are pushing hard for a top-four berth  after beating Cairns 83-76 in overtime on Friday night.

Skipper Ben Madgen, enjoying a break-out season to be  comfortably the league's leading scorer, hit 29 points including  some decisive baskets in overtime.

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- AAP

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