Kings sink Hawks in buzzer-beating NBL win
November 20, 2022 / 9:57 pm
Sean Bruce has snatched victory from the jaws of defeat for reigning NBL champions Sydney Kings with a buzzer-beating corner three-pointer to seal a memorable derby win over Illawarra.
Bruce found his way to the same spot teammate Kouat Noi dealt Cairns a buzzer- beating loss earlier this season, and rattled home his three-point attempt as the hooter sounded for an 83-82 win.
With just 2.2 seconds left after Bruce was blocked on the previous play in an attempt to tie it up at 82-82, Angus Glover fired a rocket pass to his guard and Bruce showed nerves of steel to bury the Hawks.
Bruce gestured to the crowd in a sleeping motion after the make, signalling their NSW rivals had been put to bed with his last-ditch shot.
“It felt pretty good, not going to lie,” Bruce said after the win.
“Sometimes they look good and rim out and sometimes they don’t and go in.
“The basketball gods were with me today and thankful ‘Gus made a great pass and I was able to let it fly.”
Hawks forward Tim Coenraad had a chance at the other end to put the game to bed from the charity stripe but he missed both his free throws, gifting Sydney one last crack at the win.
Coenraad made two free throws just seconds earlier as Illawarra held a two-point margin before Bruce’s heroics moved the Kings back atop the NBL standings.
Kings coach Chase Buford said Illawarra deserved victory with the intensity they played at.
“They outplayed us, they out-competed us, especially that second half of the fourth quarter,” he said.
“They just played with more of an edge. They played with more physicality, more of an aggressive mindset.
“Certainly not our best game of basketball and one that I don’t think the better team won.”
Buford’s side struggled at home against the last-placed Hawks throughout Sunday’s contest, hitting just eight of their 33 three-point attempts.
Illawarra went on a 14-6 run to halftime to trail by just three points and stayed within arm’s length as the contest entered the final 10 minutes.
Tyler Harvey’s tough left-hand push shot floating to his left in the final minute signalled an upset was on the cards, as Illawarra went up 80-78.
But Bruce’s speedy transition bucket before Coenraad’s consecutive trips to the line gave the hosts a sniff, and the 31-year-old clinched their second buzzer- beating win of the season.
Six players finished in double figures for Sydney and Glover top-scored with 13 points as the Kings’ bench poured in 32 valuable points.
Harvey ignited for the Hawks, leading all players with 32 points on 56 per cent shooting, and 14 of those points coming in the final term.
But his heroics weren’t enough as his side slipped to a heartbreaking loss.
AAP (C) 2022
The Sydney Kings have scored a dramatic 83-82 NBL win over arch-rivals Illawarra. (Steven Markham/AAP PHOTOS)