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Scott Roth goes off, as the Hawks  beat his JackJumpers


Scott Roth

Tensions boiled over at the end of the Illawarra Hawks game against the Tasmania JackJumpers as Tasmania coach Scott Roth became involved in an altercation with Hawks star import Antonius Cleveland.

The Hawks and JackJumpers entered the match battling for a spot in the top four and it was the Hawks who came away with a dominant 91-65 win at The Silverdome in Launceston.

Having already beaten the Hawks twice this NBL season, the JackJumpers started the game strongly and knocked down eight of their first 12 three-pointers as they opened up a 32-21 lead.

The JackJumpers joy was short lived as the Hawks begun to take flight as they scored 13 straight points and went on a 23-3 run to lead by eight points at half-time.

The Hawks started the second half in impressive fashion as they scored the first five points and outscored Tasmania 43-12. For the rest of the game, Illawarra outscored the home side 70 points to 33 on their way to a comprehensive 26 point win.

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Hawks US import guard Antonius Cleveland was outstanding for his team as he collected 22 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals to go with a plus-minus of 24.

Also starring for the Hawks was Justinian Jessup who scored 17 points, Duop Reath had 16 points and 11 rebounds, Tim Coenraad scored nine points and grabbed six rebounds, Xavier Rathan-Mayes had eight points, five rebounds and three assists from the bench and Tyler Harvey scored eight points and collected five rebounds.

For the JackJumpers, Josh Adams finished with 21 points while captain Clint Steindl added 17 points on 5/8 shooting from three-point range.

The game became spicy after the final buzzer when Cleveland started celebrating and flexing to the home crowd, with JackJumpers coach Scott Roth standing next to him. 

Roth took exception to Cleveland’s post-match celebrations and expressed his anger to Hawks coach Brian Goorjian before pursuing Cleveland as players and officials tried to hold him back.

Fans and commentators were left stunned by Roth’s actions. 

“This is really in danger of spilling over,” a commentator said.

“This is not a good look for the JackJumpers coach. It might be wise to get Antonius Cleveland out of there.”

“He went back for seconds, thirds and fourths, the JackJumpers coach.”

“There’s some ill feeling out there about the way that finished off,” another commentator said.

“Scott Roth’s not happy. He just needs to cool his jets.”


Roth has become known for wildly celebrating Tasmania’s victories during the NBL season and he thought Cleveland was mocking his passionate post-match antics.

“Antonius Cleveland appearing to mock Scott Roth’s post game crowd pump up theatrics, right under his nose,” ABC sports reporter Chris Rowbottom tweeted.

“Roth wanted smoke well after the final buzzer.”

Former NBL star import Derek Rucker, who also played overseas, believes Roth was acting ‘hypocritical’ towards Cleveland.

“If Scott Roth wants to celebrate victories emotionally as we have seen twice this season, he has to be willing to accept the same from the opposition. Very hypocritical to display that behaviour towards Cleveland,” Rucker wrote on Twitter.

Roth refused to discuss the incident during the post-match press conference, saying the matter had been settled with Hawks coach Brian Goorjian.

“I don’t really have any other comments other than this team is here to represent the entire state and we don’t back down from anybody. We will continue to play and we just move on,” Roth said.

Goorjian defended the actions of Cleveland who said he was simply fired up after an important win which sees the Hawks consolidate their spot in the top four.

“With all the fist pumping and stuff after the game was over, I think there was so much emotion for this,” Goorjian said.

“Nothing but respect for the JackJumpers and the season they’re having and Scott Roth but also (I) love my kid and understand our guys have had their face rubbed in this thing a bit too along the way … after every team beats us they jump around and dance around.”

“We’re finally getting a little momentum … I’m not going to take that away from them.”

“There’s respect there, it’s just a little bit of to-and-fro — a handshake when it’s settled down and we go about our business.”

As a Hawks fan, this author had no problem with the post-game actions of Cleveland. He did nothing wrong and was displaying his passion and emotion after an important win for his team.

The actions displayed from Roth were unacceptable and it was hypocritical of him to display that behaviour towards Cleveland when he himself celebrates with the crowd after wins for his team.

Picture of Joel Martelli
Joel Martelli
The only thing that Joel Martelli loves more than football (seriously, we wouldn't be surprised if he has a Wollongong Wolves tattoo) is writing about all things sports. With a Bachelor of Communications and Media Studies Degree specialising in Journalism, he spends his days uncovering breaking athlete news stories and diving deep into play-by-play strategies. We're glad that he's put his passion to the pages of Only Sports as one of our dedicated sports writers.

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