Bullets upset Hawks - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bullets upset Hawks

By Wayne Heming 08/01/2003 10:59:52 PM Comments (0)

Lowly-placed Brisbane muscled-up against play-off bound Wollongong to upset the third-placed Hawks 101-82 at the Brisbane Convention centre on Wednesday night.

Hawks coach Brendan Joyce reacted to the club's fourth loss in five games by saying his players' "manhood" was being challenged.

"We have to toughen up inside," said Joyce after Brisbane centre Wade Helliwell posted a game-high 26 points against the Hawks big-man rotation of Ben Pepper, Axel Dench, Matt Garrison and Melvin Thomas.

"Our manhood is being challenged and we need to take it personally."

Helliwell was tough, his interior game matching his imposing seven-foot frame.

Import Kevin Freeman (16 points) showed great courage playing the last three quarters virtually on one leg while guard Ben Castle drew praise from Joyce with an outstanding performance with 10 points and a career high 13 rebounds.

"He (Castle) played hard and he is not a player well recognised in the league.

"But he played like a man and got after the ball."

The victory was sweet for the Bullets who had lost their previous five NBL clashes with the Hawks going back to November 2001.

Amazingly Wollongong shot 58.6 per cent in the first half to Brisbane's 37.5 per cent but the difference was the Bullets had 19 more shots.

The stadium fell silent just before quarter time when Freeman came down awkwardly on his right leg, slumping under the Hawks' basket.

Concerned team mates immediately signalled to the sidelines for help as Freeman lay motionless on the court.

The American was assisted from the court and taken to Brisbane's dressing room but returned to the game early in the second quarter with his right ankle strapped and taped.

Things weren't looking too good for the Bullets as the Hawks skipped out to 38-29 lead after a Glen Saville three-pointer but guard Randy Rutherford, Freeman and Helliwell, who sat out most of the first quarter after two quick fouls, hauled Brisbane back.

Rutherford followed up a Freeman bucket over Hawks forward Melvin Thomas while Helliwell picked up four points as Brisbane cut the margin to 44-42 on the back of an unanswered 10-point run.

After being down by nine points at one stage, Brisbane outscored the Hawks 26-15 in the second term to lead 52-48.

Bullets coach Wright, who was ejected from last weekend's game against Sydney, held a mid-court conference with rival coach Brendan Joyce and referees Scott Butler, Campbell Craddock and Steve Bignell before the tip-off.

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