American import Bryce Cotton and former Australian Boomers guard Clint Steindl combined for 37 points to carry the injury-hit Perth Wildcats to Sunday’s 90-81 defeat of the Illawarra Hawks at WIN Entertainment Centre.
Despite the absence of regular starters Damian Martin and Angus Brandt through injury, the Wildcats got the early jump on the Hawks and never trailed.
Cotton, who drained a buzzer-beating three-point bomb to beat Brisbane on Friday night, finished with 19 points, while Steindl poured in 18 off the bench, making his first five three-point shots.
Nick Kay had 18 points against his former team and Jesse Wagstaff added a valuable 15 off the bench.
Todd Blanchfield and Cedric Jackson led Illawarra with 16 points each, while David Andersen had 12.The Wildcats’ win boosted their record to 7-1 and kept them alone atop the NBL ladder.
Illawarra claimed Melbourne United’s scalp on Thursday but were unable to complete a perfect week and dropped to 3-5 for the season.
Cotton was sublime with 10 points in the first period, helping the Cats to a 24-16 lead.
Streaky shooter Steindl has his eye in, nailing four from four three-pointers as the visitors powered into the second quarter with a 36-21 lead.
They were ahead by as many as 17 and answered every Hawks challenge from the first two periods.
Steindl was the standout with 15 points and the Wildcats enjoyed a 54-42 half- time lead.
The margin was cut to five with 28 seconds remaining but the Wildcats held on for an impressive victory.