The Perth Wildcats have lost top spot on the NBL ladder after giving up a 14-point lead against Brisbane tonight to lose 93-86.
The Wildcats lost their third game in a row despite being in control early in the third quarter.
Having coughed up a 15-point lead in the loss to Sydney and then losing to Melbourne by 17 points, the Wildcats needed another victory at the start of a lengthy run of away games.
But Brisbane outscored the Wildcats 27-19 during the final quarter to leave the Sydney Kings as the NBL’s ladder leaders.
Perth had seven turnovers during the quarter and Brisbane took advantage.
Bryce Cotton’s love affair with Brisbane appeared to put Perth on the road to victory. He scored 29 points in a dominant display.
Last month, Cotton scored 37 points and hit the match winning basket on the buzzer against the Bullets. He also won a game against Brisbane with the final shot last season.
WA’s Cam Gliddon scored 24 points while Lamar Patterson (17), Cam Bairstow (13), Matt Hodgson (11), and Reuben Te Rangi (10) were also important.
The Wildcats held a lengthy mid-season review to identify their way forward on Tuesday but star Nick Kay said the squad let themselves down by not sticking to their plans.
“Stuff we talked about this week, we didn’t do,” Kay said
“We’ve got to be better.”
Damian Martin returned to the starting five for the first time since injuring his calf in October and had a vastly bigger role than he anticipated after the referees ejected Mitch Norton early in the second quarter. Norton gave away an unsportsmanlike foul early in the period and then received a technical foul for flopping which finished his night.
Martin played 30 minutes, scoring seven points with six assists, five rebounds and two steals.
Terrico White lit up the game at the start of the third quarter with 10 points in less than three minutes to give the Wildcats their 14-point lead. But the game quickly changed and Brisbane reduced the deficit to only one point late in the quarter.
Cotton then gave Perth a six-point lead during the final term.
White finished with 17 points while Kay continued his outstanding season with 22 points and six rebounds.
The Wildcats’ next game is on Sunday against the Illawarra Hawks.