Friday, April 27, 2012

Hawks farewell Campbell in style

Updated March 25, 2012 21:36:30

Wollongong gave its inspirational captain Mat Campbell a deserving farewell in his final NBL game, chalking up a 92-78 win over the Adelaide 36ers on Sunday.

The Hawks unleashed a phenomenal 9-of-15 three-point shooting display in the first half, sending Campbell off with a string of three wins and deferring the wooden spoon to Adelaide in the process.

Elsewhere, Gold Coast (17-11) completed a confidence-boosting home 94-71 home win over New Zealand (21-7).

The Breakers were scorched by a Blaze team that shot at 63 per cent from three-point territory.

A crowd of 5,032 flocked to the Sandpit to celebrate the career of their leader who reciprocated with six points and four assists, his final score coming off a trademark fallaway jumper.

"I was a bit emotional at the start and I really wanted to focus on the game tonight," Campbell said.

"It was really important for me to win the game, I didn't want to go out on a losing note, especially with the wooden spoon up for grabs.

"I was trying to block out all that emotional stuff, but ... it was something special."

Oscar Forman (22 points) and Larry Davidson (16 points) led the way for the Hawks, while Stephen Weigh (15 points) and Daniel Johnson (14 points) topped the 36ers.

Campbell got into the action early with a driving lay-up, the rest of the Hawks then swooped with three-pointers by Forman, Davidson and Ayinde Ubaka pushing the score to 15-4.

Wollongong featured eight scorers as they claimed the opening quarter 31-19, while Johnson and Diamon Simpson accounted for nine of Adelaide's points.

The 36ers crept within 10 points on a three from Weigh, but another flood of triples by Rhys Martin, Tim Coenraad and Glen Saville secured a commanding 59-38 half-time lead for the Hawks.

Adelaide took the third 15-12 as the scoring pace slowed down, leaving Wollongong with a 71-53 buffer to protect in the final quarter.

The 36ers threatened with a 6-0 run to pull within 12, but were quickly stifled when Forman knocked down his fifth triple to shut down his former team.

Campbell was presented with a key to the city of Wollongong by Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery prior to tip-off.

He was subbed with just over a minute to play and was saluted to a deafening standing ovation as he exited the floor for the final time.


Tags: nbl, basketball, sport, wollongong-2500, nsw, australia

First posted March 25, 2012 19:56:33

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