Hawks finally break New Zealand streak
Illawarra rocked into New Zealand's Vector Arena and put their feet all over the furniture, the Hawks announcing to all they were ready to play finals basketball with a flashy 107-83 win over the defending champions.
The Breakers were 8-0 at home this season and were looking at top spot after the Crocs stunned Perth in Townsville on Saturday night. Conversely, Illawarra had not won in New Zealand in four years.
"It's a tough place to win," said former Breaker Kirk Penney who shot a game-high 27 points for the Hawks
Penney added it was now a case of "sky's the limit" for his side.
Despite being down a man after guard Rhys Martin was left at the team hotel with a stomach virus, Illawarra came out with all guns blazing. Penney (27 points) and US import Kevin Lisch (24) were on target from deep as the visitors opened up a 34-21 lead at quarter-time.
The Hawks kept the offensive fire burning for the entire match, AJ Ogilvy (18) and Jarrad Weeks (13) joining the party and taking the stunned crowd of more than 6000 out of the game.
The win completed a big round for Illawarra, which also piled on 102 points in its 19-point win over Sydney on Friday night.
A win would have put the Breakers in top spot after Perth had crashed to an energetic Crows outfit 75-58.
Down by 15 points after their lowest first quarter of the season, the Crocs came back hard to overwhelm the tired-looking Wildcats who had beaten the Taipans 73-70 in Cairns on Thursday night.