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Hawks fall to United in tight finish to regular season

19 Feb
2 mins read
The Hawks have finshed the NBL24 regular season in fourth position despite a tense 92-87 loss to Melbourne United on Sunday.

After a shock road loss to Cairns on Friday, when Melbourne's wayward shooting proved costly, the ladder leaders bounced back at John Cain Arena on Sunday.

Veteran guards Goulding (19 points) and Matthew Dellavedova (17) fired for United, with Ian Clark and Luke Travers (both 13) influential off the bench.

Goulding poured in 16 points after half-time and delivered a pair of late daggers to sink the in-form Hawks, who had won five of their previous six games.

The result meant Melbourne finished the regular season three wins clear on top of the ladder with a 20-8 record, ahead of second-placed Perth (17-11).

Illawarra remain in fourth spot but can drop to fifth if New Zealand beat Adelaide and make up a small percentage gap in the final game of the regular season on Sunday.

Retiring veteran Brad Newley celebrated his 39th birthday with the opening bucket for Melbourne against Illawarra, and a 13-0 run late in the first period gave United a double-digit lead.

But they trailed at half-time in a see-sawing contest, as Tyler Harvey's offensive firepower and Sam Froling's presence on the glass gave the Hawks a narrow 42-38 edge.

It remained tight throughout and the lead changed hands four times in the last quarter before Goulding's two triples in the final two minutes settled the contest.

Illawarra guard Harvey (13 points) was kept quiet after half-time and Froling (12 points, nine rebounds) fouled out late after having a big say in proceedings early.

Justin Robinson (14 points) top-scored for the Hawks.

HUNGRY JACKS NBL ROUND 20

MELBOURNE UNITED 92 (Goulding 19, Dellavedova 17, Clark, 13, Travers 13) 

ILLAWARRA HAWKS 87 (Robinson 14, Harvey 13, Froling 12) 

BOX SCORE

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