Superstar duo Bryce Cotton and Vic Law have given Perth Wildcats fans a memorable team homecoming with a 95-85 NBL victory over New Zealand Breakers.
Back at Perth’s RAC Arena after 14 straight away games, Cotton (25 points) and Law (26 points) torched the Breakers (5-15) on Sunday, just as they did in their recent round 15 thriller.
There were early signs of an upset when the Breakers put up 34 points in the first term before taking a 49-43 lead into the main break.
The hosts then outscored the Breakers 26-15 in the third term and took control of the glass as Law found his spots on offence after struggling in the opening 20 minutes.
Up 13 with three minutes to play the Wildcats (14-6) had the victory in the bag but sloppy play out of their own half gifted the Breakers three straight buckets, forcing coach Scott Morrison into two timeouts.
When Law glided into his final jumper of the night to ice the game with 30 seconds remaining a rapturous 50 per cent capacity crowd celebrated the Wildcats’ sixth win in a row.
“I’ve got to give New Zealand a lot of credit, they picked us apart to start the game. They’re a really good team,” Morrison told reporters.
“They just destroyed our pick-and-roll defence – did it last week too – and lucky for us we were able to hit some tough shots and make a couple small adjustments that helped us a little bit.
“But at the end of the day, we were just lucky they missed some of those good looks they got and it’s two games in a row where I thought they really attacked us.”
For the Breakers, Next Star Hugo Besson failed to fire after his 23-point outing in their last matchup, registering just nine points on 3-15 shooting.
Coach Dan Shamir said their failure to coral rebounds and get to the stripe was the difference in the second stanza.
“The number that jumps to you from the stat sheet is that we shot zero free throws in the second half and they shot 14,” Shamir said.
“It’s not an explanation, it’s not an excuse because we probably took more outside shots and when you’re shooting the ball, you’re kicking the ball and shooting the ball, you don’t get fouled.
“But we’ll have to look at it because it’s very unusual, 14-0 in a game like that. Probably a mix of how we play, how we play offensively and how we couldn’t keep them off the free throw line.”