United beat Hawks to end NBL losing run

Adrian Warren

A breakout NBL performance from new import Stanton Kidd helped Melbourne United to snap a two-match losing run, as they stormed over the top of Illawarra with a 104-91 win against the Hawks.

Trailing by two points at the final change on Saturday evening at Wollongong Entertainment Centre, United won the final quarter 32-17.

Forward Kidd, who was playing just his third game for United after being signed as an injury replacement for Casey Prather, hit a couple of big three-pointers in the final quarter and five of eight from long range across the game, finishing with 21 points.

"He had a massive impact on the game tonight and fitted into both the three and four spot very well," United coach Dean Vickerman said of Kidd.

It was the first win in Kidd's three games for Melbourne, who moved back above Cairns into third.

Illawarra shot at 57 per cent for the match, but they committed 19 turnovers to United's nine, while Melbourne also had 18 more free-throw attempts and the Hawks had zero second-chance points.

Illawarra frontcourt veterans AJ Ogilvy and David Andersen were unable to play.

Kidd apart, Chris Goulding also scored 21, Shawn Long 17 and Mitch McCarron 16.

The Hawks' scoring was led by veteran Tim Coenraad with 18.

Sparked by three early three-pointers from Coenraad, Illawarra shot to a 20-9 lead.

"We had to call a couple of timeouts to manage some of their runs and some of the execution they were doing," Vickerman said.

"Once it got to that fourth quarter, there was a good confidence level about the way we executed down the stretch.

"We did a good job of making them turn it over and got some cheap points out of their turnovers."

Sharpshooter Goulding's 10 points for the second quarter set up a 55-50 halftime lead for the visitors.

They stretched that buffer to nine with the first four points of the third quarter, but Illawarra captain Todd Blanchfield nailed a couple of threes and Angus Glover sank another as the Hawks fought back to lead 74-72 at three-quarter time.

"We've been building something here and we've really turned the corner in the last month with our style of play and I just felt we went away a little bit from that tonight," Hawks coach Matt Flinn said.

"One of those things is second-chance points and we normally generate a lot of that off the glass and we were unable to do that tonight.

"Threw the ball away too many times at crucial moments and that generated some easy buckets for them."