Second-placed Illawarra Hawks got their mojo back on Thursday thanks to a 50-point combination from Sam Froling and Tyler Harvey.
They were riding high at the start of the NBL season, with the Wollongong outfit sitting equal second before taking on the Kings at WIN Sports and Entertainment Centre.
But after losing in a shock upset to the Brisbane Bullets, the Hawks hadn’t played a game in nearly.
Meanwhile, Chase Buford’s side were struggling towards the bottom end of the NBL ladder, only winning three out of their seven games played so far this season.
The Kings took an 11-point lead early on, but were pinned back later in the first quarter after the Hawks went on an 8-0 run to close out the opening twelve minutes.
Harvey in particular was one of the players to start the quickest, knocking down back to back threes to end the first quarter for the Hawks.
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Harvey and co. continued where they left off in the second, but the Kings weren’t giving in easy, and it took to the third quarter for the Hawks to tighten their grip on the match.
After a few cheap turnovers and easy buckets for the Kings, the Hawks got themselves back into the game late in the third and took the lead after a corner three from Tom Vodanovich.
However, despite scoring early, it was a brutal fourth quarter collapse for the Kings, only scoring ten points. It allowed Illawarra to claim victory and soar to second spot on the ladder, while Sydney slumped down to sixth.
Harvey and Froling knock down 50 points
It took a game-high 27-points from Sam Froling and Tyler Harvey to get the win, dominating the scoring in style.
21-year-old Froling consistently found space within the key and beyond the arc, but it was his American teammate who was the star of the show.
Harvey dished out a masterclass of three point shooting, only missing one of his seven attempts. He was also able to hand out six dimes to teammates along the way too.
The pair ended the match with a combined 50 points, just over half of their score. The duo should be now seen as one of the most dangerous in the league.
That fourth quarter collapse for Sydney Kings
It was a spectacular set of events that unwrapped the victory from the palms of the Kings.
Jarell Martin and Wani Swaka Lo Buluk both put up impressive performances, with Martin scoring 23 and Buluk 17. But these two alone could not stop what can only be described as an unimpressive night from the Kings.
They boasted a five point lead at one point in the last, and looked likely to take the win before Froling and Harvey put a stop to it.
The trio of Xavier Cooks, Martin and Buluk tried ever so hard to counter the 50-point duo, but the efforts from the Kings-men were not enough as they were laid out for their fourth loss of the season.
Big man Froling stakes claim for Australian call-up
Offensively, defensively, all over the court, Froling impressed in his career high night of scoring. This was accompanied by nine rebounds and the sole assist for the young Australian.
Froling began his NBL career as a teenager in 2019 with the Hawks and has only improved year-on-year. In the 2021 season his efforts across the campaign saw him awarded with the NBL Most Improved Player Of The Season Award.
The 21-year-old has backed that award up in incredible fashion. He averages a minimum of 11 points per game and just under 10 rebounds per game, with a field percentage of 49 per cent.
Last night wasn’t the only match this season the big man soared past 20 points though, scoring an impressive double-double over the Tasmanian JackJumpers. If Froling keeps his form up, it will not be too long until we see him in the Australian Boomers team in 2022.
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