Pi News –
Adelaide 36ers’ rejuvenation under Scott Ninnis continued, with back-to-back wins lifting them off the bottom of the NBL ladder after a 96-89 win over the Illawarra Hawks.
Coming into the round, the 36ers have improved since Ninnis replaced CJ Bruton as coach, but they have yet to win on the road.
They defeated South East Melbourne Phoenix by 25 points in Melbourne on Wednesday before traveling to the WIN Entertainment Center to play the Hawks on Saturday.
The Sixers came out of the blocks and scored the first nine points, led by Isaac Humphries (18 points, 10 rebounds) as he continued his career-best performance in the league’s Pride Round.
Adelaide jumped out to an early 15-6 lead and while it was a tight contest, the 36ers held a slim lead for much of the evening.
The dying moments were not without drama. With Adelaide leading by six, Hyunjung Lee was denied by a layup that Kyryn Galloway believed was blocked.
Lee still had the best night of his NBL career, scoring 24 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting, but when that goal was missed, Adelaide lost a foul streak through Trey Kell (26 points, 10 ). -of-14 free throws) and DJ Vasiljevic (14 points, 5-of-5).
The Sixers improve to 9-14 and condemn Phoenix to the bottom as they keep alive their hopes of a top-six finish with five games remaining.
Galloway stepped up again in the absence of Jacob Wiley with 13 points and six rebounds, while Nick Marshall added 12 points and Alex Starling added eight points and five boards.
It was the third straight loss for Illawarra, who fell to a 9-12 record to fall back to eighth place.
Tyler Harvey had 20 points for the Hawks, but his backcourt partner Justin Robinson had another horror night with zero points and missed six field goal attempts.
Gary Clark’s knee injury allowed him to play just 18 minutes for two points after 36 points against Cairns on Thursday.
Sam Froling had 14 points and 11 rebounds.