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GAME REPORT

Hot-Shooting Hawks Overcome Phoenix in OT

A combined 12 three-point makes from Justinian Jessup and Isaac White helped the Illawarra Hawks to a first up 116-112 victory in overtime against the South East Melbourne Phoenix at the NBL Blitz.

The Phoenix were on top for much of the opening contest on Monday at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre on the third day of the NBL Blitz heading towards the #NBL22 season playing their second game already.

They had beaten the Sydney Kings on Saturday and with Chinese superstar Zhou Qi leading the way on Monday, they were on top much of the contest against the Hawks who were making their first appearance.

However, the Hawks managed to get the game to overtime and the combination of the 12 threes from Jessup and White, and then the impressive backcourt duo of Tyler Harvey and Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Illawarra pulled away for the four-point win.

Jessup ended up top-scoring for the game with 27 points and five rebounds for Illawarra knocking down 7/9 from beyond the three-point line. White added 19 points on 5/6 shooting from deep too.

Harvey showed he's ready to fire again in his second NBL season with 17 points and four rebounds while Rathan-Mayes showed good signs with 13 points, seven assists and four steals.

Sam Froling added 10 points and five rebounds, Tim Coenraad nine points and five boards, Duop Reath seven points and Antonius Cleveland six points, five rebounds and four assists.

Reuben Te Rangi's 18 points all came in the first half for the Phoenix with Zhou Qi finishing with 17 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots.

Kyle Adnam added 16 points and 12 assists, Ryan Broekhoff 15 points and five rebounds, Xavier Munford 16 points, Tohi Smith-Milner nine and Koen Sapwell eight.

The Hawks produced some hot shooting in the opening half with Justinian Jessup gearing up for his second NBL season as a Next Star with 13 points on the back of a perfect 4/4 shooting from the floor and 3/3 from downtown in the opening quarter.

Isaac White then knocked down five three-pointers of his own in the opening half for 17 points with the Hawks, but despite that it was the Phoenix going into half-time with a 56-51 edge in their second game of the first three days of the Blitz.

The Phoenix took the five-point lead on the back of miracle three ball by Xavier Munford from below the free-throw line up the other end.

It was Reuben Te Rangi the star delivering 18 points, four rebounds and two assists up to half-time while knocking down 3/4 from beyond the three-point line and 7/8 from the foul line.

Jessup knocked down another pair of three balls in the third quarter for Illawarra and guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes worked into the game, but still the Phoenix led after three 81-79 on the back of a triple on the buzzer from Koen Sapwell.

Jessup hit his seventh three of the game from eight attempts to put Illawarra back in front early in the fourth quarter before Zhou Qi took over for a stretch with a pair of free-throws, huge block on Sam Froling and then a big flush on the perfect dime from Kyle Adnam.

But a strong drive and finish from Rathan-Mayes forced the game to overtime and in the extra five minutes, the Hawks pulled away to open their Blitz campaign on a winning note.

The Phoenix are next in action on Saturday against the New Zealand Breakers while the Hawks take on Melbourne United in the second match up on Saturday.

HUNGRY JACK'S NBL BLITZ

ILLAWARRA HAWKS 116 (Jessup 27, White 19, Harvey 17) 

SOUTH EAST MELBOURNE PHOENIX 112 (Te Rangi 18, Zhou Qi 17, Adnam 16, Munford 16)

BOX SCORE 

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