After Melbourne United lost at home to the New Zealand Breakers immediately prior and the Perth Wildcats being shocked by Cairns immediately after the Hawks came from behind to open their season account and keep in touch with the top sides in the NBL.
The Hawks started the game with an 11-5 run much to the delight of the electric home fans in Wollongong, they were soon silenced however as the Bullets went on a 17-2 march to lead by 15 at quarter time on the back of shooting 12/17 from the field.
The second quarter saw the Hawks cut the lead down to one before the Bullets shot away again to take a ten point lead into half time and put the Hawks season in serious trouble.
However the Hawks began to grab a toehold in the third. Rotnei Clarke was the standout for the Hawks coming into the starting place for Kevin White who was a late scratching due to illness, he was in the thick of the action with 26 points for the home side in what became at times a spiteful encounter.
Midway through the third quarter Hawks forward Nick Kay was fouled hard by Bullets guard Adam Gibson which in turn instigated a melee as both sides converged on the scene and started to square up to one another
Following a lengthy review by the officials, four players -- two from each side -- were hit with unsportsmanlike fouls, while Rotnei Clarke wore a technical foul.
From that point the Hawks were the better side finishing the third term with a flourish to complete a 39-16 quarter to lead by 13 at the final change. Despite the Bullets cutting the lead to 5 late on in the piece the Hawks held their nerve to record an important victory.
ILLAWARRA HAWKS 105 (Clarke 26, Conger 21, Ogilvy 15)
BRISBANE BULLETS 96 (Buford 26, Kickert 21, Holt 17)
At WIN Entertainment Centre
Catch all the action of the Illawarra Hawks vs the Sydney Kings live from Wollongong Sunday afternoon from 2:30pm on SWR Sport.