BASKETBALL

Clarke shoots Hawks to big NBL win

Rotnei Clarke bagged 25 points off the bench to lift Illawarra to a 106-88 NBL win over Melbourne United in Wollongong on Saturday as the visitors' star Chris Goulding missed the second half with injury.

Goulding missed seven of his 10 shots in the first half for just eight points and with the Rio Olympian limping during the halftime break, played no further part in the round-14 clash.

Illawarra boosted their win-loss record to 11-10 to jump to second on the ladder as Melbourne United (10-10) fell to fourth.

American guard Clarke tallied a game-high tally for the Hawks, Nick Kay added 20 and AJ Ogilvy finished with 14 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.

Casper Ware top-scored for Melbourne with 21, while Nate Tomlinson and Tai Wesley combined for 31.

The Hawks had an early lead before Goulding connected on a couple of long bombs to put Melbourne up 20-16.

Illawarra forward Oscar Forman provided a lift off the bench by knocking down a pair of timely threes, but Tomlinson replied with his own three-pointer in the closing seconds to lock it up 25-all at quarter-time.

Clarke had his eye in throughout the second period and was up to 15 points by halftime, while Ogilvy and Kay combined for 20.

Goulding was held to eight points on three of 10 shooting, but the visitors drained 11 out of 18 threes as a team to be down 57-51 at halftime.

The Hawks took control in the third period, pushing the margin up to double digits and keeping the upper hand down the stretch.

Melbourne have two games in round 15 - an away clash with Adelaide next Thursday and a home meeting with Cairns on Saturday.

Illawarra's only round 15 game is next Friday at home against Brisbane.

AAP