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Tensions flare as Kings down Wildcats

Perth Wildcats centre Matthew Hodgson has been ejected from the game and is facing suspension after twice shoving Sydney guard Dejan Vasiljevic in the face during the Kings’ 96-81 NBL win.

The controversial incident happened early in the third quarter of the Wildcats’ third loss of the season on Sunday.

Hodgson appeared to take offence to something Vasiljevic said, shoving him to the face before doing so again with more force when the Kings guard stepped back towards him.

Kings coach Chase Buford played peacekeeper in the middle of the skirmish before the game was delayed as the referees went over the footage.

Hodgson was administered a disqualifying foul and ejected from the game with the Kings leading 59-40, before the home side stifled a late surge by the Wildcats (7-3) to hold on for their fifth win of the season.

Sydney’s Jaylen Adams had a game-high 30 points to go with seven rebounds, nine assists, two blocks and two steals, while Jarell Martin had 22 points and eight rebounds for the hosts.

The Wildcats cut a game-high 19-point deficit to four midway through the final quarter, but Adams took control to see out the result.

Buford was proud of his team’s defensive efforts on two of the NBL’s premier scorers in Bryce Cotton and Victor Law, but said the third-quarter blow-up had no place in the sport.

“I’m really proud of the way our guys came out and guarded them – that’s an elite offensive team obviously .. .and I really thought our guys did a hell of a job on them,” Buford said.

“I’ve got no idea what was said, but regardless what was said, what happened in retaliation and whatever words was uncalled for.

“Its not a basketball play.

“To take a swipe at someone’s face twice – yeah, I don’t have a lot of respect for that play.”

The Wildcats fought back into the contest in the second stanza, finding their offensive structure that went missing as Sydney piled on 55 points in the opening half, their highest this season.

But coach Scott Morrison made no excuses for his side.

“We got outplayed, we got outcoached, we got out-worked,” he said.

“We were lucky to even be thinking about a comeback in the fourth quarter.”

“So just got to give credit to Sydney, they beat us fair and square.”

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