Home / World News / Bryce Cotton heroics help Perth Wildcats escape in playoff thriller against Cairns

Bryce Cotton heroics help Perth Wildcats escape in playoff thriller against Cairns

An extraordinary 42-point game from NBL MVP Bryce Cotton has the Perth Wildcats just one win away from another grand final appearance after a thrilling come from behind overtime victory over Cairns at RAC Arena last night.

The reigning champions fought back from nine points down during the third quarter as defensive pressure and quality shooting turned the contest in front of a pulsating and parochial home crowd.

The lead changed six times during the final quarter and scores were level six other times in an extraordinary finish.

But Cotton proved to be the difference in the 108-107 win. He scored nine points in overtime and 10 three-pointer for the game.

Cotton has an extraordinary record in finals and he further cemented his place in the record books with a brilliant performance.

Cotton broke Cairns’ hearts in the opening semi final of the 2016-17 season when he scored 34 points on an away court and he then produced 45 points in the grand final.

“He is so special,” captain Damian Martin said.

“When he shoots the ball, you can almost start running back because you know it’s going in. He’s as good a player as the Wildcats have had. He went to another level and for him to stand up under the spotlight when we were down by nine was something special.”

VideoNick Kay helped the Perth Wildcats squeeze out overtime in their playoff opener against Cairns.

His effort came despite MVP runner-up Scott Machado scoring 31 points, having nine assists and eight rebounds.

Nick Kay was again influential with 23 points and nine rebounds. His three-pointer sent the game to overtime and then he sunk two free throws with 32 seconds remaining in overtime to give the Wildcats a three-point buffer.

Perth led by nine points at quarter time but the Taipans blasted that deficit away in less than four minutes to surge to the front.

Cairns entered the game full of confidence having beaten the Wildcats twice from three matches throughout the regular season. That included a 23-point thumping at RAC Arena in October.

Bryce Cotton came up huge.Bryce Cotton came up huge.
Camera IconBryce Cotton came up huge. Credit: RICHARD WAINWRIGHT/AAPIMAGE

The Taipans scored 30 points in a quarter in each of those games and repeated the dose with 34 during the second period to lead by nine points at the long break.

The Wildcats pressured Machado at every opportunity but his class stood out. Cam Oliver scored 19 points and had 18 rebounds while DJ Newbill scored 25 points.

“They’re a great team,” Martin said.

“There’s a reason they finished third. They’ve got the players out there so we are elated to get game one done and now we have to try to close it out.”

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