36ers sneak past Hawks in NBL

Steve Barrett
36ers forward Anthony Drimic (L) scored a team-high 24 points in the win over Illawarra

Anthony Drmic's massive three-point bomb with 32 seconds remaining has propelled Adelaide 36ers to a 102-96 win over Illawarra Hawks at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.

The clutch bomb from Drmic (24 points) kept the Sixers' finals hopes alive after the plucky Hawks, led magnificently by captain Todd Blanchfield's masterclass (career-best 35 points, 7-of-12 three-pointers), had closed to within a point on Josh Boone's lay-up.

Illawarra's Sunday Dech then missed a triple of his own, Blanchfield fouled out and Eric Griffin iced a pair of foul shots to keep Illawarra at bay in front of 7889 fans on Monday.

"To hold them (Hawks) to 35 points in the second half was big," Adelaide coach Joey Wright said.

"That's huge. We outrebounded them by a pretty decent margin (45-29) as well."

Blanchfield accumulated 16 first-quarter points, including four triples and a breakaway dunk, to give the Hawks the early impetus before Harry Froling drilled a pair of threes to tie it at 32-32 at quarter-time.

The 36ers moved ahead by five points midway through the second period before the Hawks, who continued to live and die by the perimeter, recaptured the lead via back-to-back Tim Coenraad triples and still holding sway 61-59 at halftime.

Eric Griffin opened the third term with a steal and Karl Malone-esque hammer dunk to spark the Sixers, who did not make a sub for the entire quarter.

Teys converted two free throws after copping an unsportsmanlike foul from Blanchfield who then redeemed himself with successive threes to briefly give Illawarra the lead back.

Randle's steal and lay-up re-energised the 36ers who led 87-83 at three-quarter-time before going ice cold to start a scrappy fourth stanza.

Adelaide threatened to unravel when Wright incurred a technical foul but, after being unable to buy a bucket and with Blanchfield still prominent, Drmic would have the final say.

"That was a big shot at the end, no question," a disappointed Hawks coach Matt Flinn said of Drmic's strike.

"Credit to Adelaide, they made the shots when they had to.

"Just disappointed that we didn't get the result because I felt we deserved it."