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R15 Report: Lisch knocks Breakers from four in double OT

Kevin Lisch put the Illawarra Hawks on his back to score a career-high in a stunning 103-96 double overtime victory over the New Zealand Breakers who now see their championship defence in jeopardy. Coming off three successive losses and having lost the first three games of the season to the Hawks by a combined 63 points, the Breakers came out ready to bounce back hard from Thursday's loss in Wollongong. The win improves the Hawks to a 14-8 record to join the Perth Wildcats on the same record ahead of the teams meeting Thursday at Perth Arena. The Breakers have now lost four straight to slip to 11-10 and to fall out of the top four at the expense of the Adelaide 36ers. The Breakers led the Hawks for much of the match, but were consistently under pressure to keep in front. Five minutes before the final buzzer New Zealand had an 11-point lead but Illawarra went on a scoring spree racking up 10 points. Mika Vukona missed a pair of crucial free throws, and Cody Ellis nailed a three to tie scores with two seconds to go. Corey Webster missed a three sending the game into the first of two overtime periods. Lisch took charge in the first period of extra time but again things were tied with Webster taking a shot for the win, but coming up short. The second overtime period saw Illawarra grab the lead and retain it winning by seven points. With Cedric and Charles Jackson terrific early, the Breakers put on 32 first quarter points and led for most of the four quarters. The job for the Hawks was made tougher when superstar Kirk Penney went scoreless in the second half and sat out much of the fourth quarter and both overtime periods with a hamstring injury. He had 14 first half points. However, Lisch picked up the slack to deliver an NBL career-best 40 points to go with five rebounds and four steals. He shot 11-of-20 from the field, 5-of-10 from three and 13-of-13 from the line. He was especially massive in overtime as was Cody Ellis who scored a career-best 18 points who benefited from Oscar Forman's foul trouble. Corey Webster scored 22 points for the Breakers but shot just 6-of-21 from the field and 3-of-15 from beyond the arc. Cedric Jackson had 18 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals. Charles Jackson contributed 11 points and 18 boards. Breakers coach Dean Vickerman was disappointed in the loss that means they have lost four on the trot, lost all four to the Hawks this season and are out of the top four. "We went into the game talking about the challenges ahead and how we wanted to beat every team in the league, but couldn’t find the way," Vickerman said. "They are a good team and 10 points up on them is like six points up on another team." The Breakers now head on a must-win Sunshine Swing against Townsville on Thursday and Cairns on Saturday. The Hawks fight for second spot against the Wildcats also on Thursdsay. ILLAWARRA HAWKS 103 (Lisch 40, Ellis 18, Ogilvy 15) NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS 96 (Webster 22, Cedric Jackson 18, Pledger 12) BOX SCORE
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