Illawarra Hawks claim comeback win over New Zealand Breakers

Front-court duo Todd Blanchfield and Brian Conklin have combined for 47 points to lead the Illawarra Hawks to a stunning 107-96 comeback NBL victory over the New Zealand Breakers at WIN Entertainment Centre.

Illawarra were behind at every change before out-scoring the Breakers 34-11 in the final quarter to claim their 10th win of the season and keep their finals hopes alive.

Jordair Jett and AJ Ogilvy scored 14 points apiece off the bench for the Hawks, while four-time Olympian David Andersen added 10.

Jarrad Weeks led New Zealand with 22 points and forward Tom Abercrombie finished with 20.

"Our last four games are as good as we've played," Illawarra coach Rob Beveridge said.

"We had this game circled. They kicked our arse [in round 10] and we hadn't beaten them, but now we've beaten every team in the league and that gives us confidence going into play Melbourne and Cairns next week.

"Nobody talks good about us but that's okay. There's no pressure on us at all.

"We have to gritty, proactive basketball and if we do that we can beat Melbourne in Melbourne."

The Breakers were firmly on course for their ninth win for most of the night before collapsing in crunch time.

"We broke down in the last five minutes," Breakers coach Kevin Braswell said.

"We couldn't hold our composure. They made plays, we didn't. We got stagnant.

"We knew coming in how it is playing here, and just how having a lead isn't enough here. This isn't the first time these guys [Hawks] have done this [comeback] in this arena.

"To score 11 points in the last quarter after scoring whenever we wanted to in the first three quarters, you just can't have that, not with two teams fighting for the playoffs."

Illawarra were in control early in the game but the Breakers didn't flinch, as Patrick Richard, Finn Delaney and Weeks combined for 15 points off the bench.

Veteran forward Abercrombie made a pair of free throws and a three-point bomb in the closing seconds to give the visitors a 27-22 quarter-time lead.

Weeks hogged the limelight throughout the second period and had 18 points at half-time after missing just one of his seven shots.

Blanchfield's 17 points kept the Hawks within striking distance but New Zealand led 52-47 at half-time and stretched the margin to 12 at three-quarter time.

But despite leading by 15 early in the fourth period, the Breakers were over-run by a rampant Hawks.