American import Marvelle Harris starred on debut to catapult the Illawarra Hawks to a crushing 122-88 defeat of the Adelaide 36ers on Friday night at Wollongong's WIN Entertainment Centre.

Harris poured in 21 points and was one of six Illawarra players to reach double figures in the dominant first-round victory.

Illawarra's points total was the highest by any team since the NBL went from 12-minute to 10-minute quarters in 2010.

The Hawks raced to a 31-22 quarter-time lead before Adelaide forward Mitch Creek inspired a fightback to give his team a 56-55 edge at halftime.

But Creek was limited by fouls in the second half and the home side took control, connecting on seven three-point bombs and outscoring the Sixers 34-10 in a decisive third quarter.

Rotnei Clarke had a team-high 23 points for Illawarra and Michael Holyfield added 14.

Creek led all scorers with 24, while Sixers guard Jerome Randle finished with 13 after being held scoreless in the second half.

The Hawks aim to make it two from two when they host NSW rivals Sydney next Thursday, while Adelaide can kickstart their season in their round two home clash with Melbourne United.