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  • Writer's pictureSportFM

Wildcats lose entertaining clash in NZ

The Perth Wildcats just fell short in a high-quality contest with the New Zealand Breakers in New Plymouth on Wednesday night 97-94.

The Wildcats were fresh off the signing of Tai Webster and while he was with the team and suited up on the bench, he didn’t hit the floor to make his debut for his new club against his former team.

Perth did threaten to blow the game open in the second quarter opening up a double-digit advantage, and still were clinging to a one-point lead at half-time on the back of Bryce Cotton, Brady Manek and TaShawn Thomas combining for 33 first half points.

However, the Breakers opened up what proved to be a match-winning lead with a 14-0 run late in the third quarter.

Even though the Wildcats fought valiantly with Cotton and Corey Webster combining for five threes in the fourth period, New Zealand held on to win by three and snap a three-game losing streak spread over a month.

Cotton produced another terrific performance for Perth with 32 points and five assists on 10/15 shooting from the floor and 5/7 from deep.

Manek finished with 20 points and seven rebounds with four triples, Corey Webster 19 points with 3/4 three-point shooting, Thomas 14 points and six rebounds, and Mitch Norton nine points, five boards and three assists.

New signing Tai Webster was suited up and on the bench with his team but didn’t hit the floor to make his Wildcats debut.

Perth coach John Rillie saw a lot to like in the performance, but still left with some areas of frustration.

"New Zealand, they're a playoff team and are well prepared, their coaches get them ready but we got off to a great start," Rillie said.

"We certainly scored enough points to win the game, we just had a loose second quarter that allowed them to get a lot of momentum and go into half-time with some hope.

"I'm obviously emotional right now about the game but we've done a good job this season of taking care of the ball, but we had 18 turnovers.

"So for how good we are offensively when we're in that sort of groove, to have 18 turnovers we're penalising ourselves and the opportunity to score more points.

"I thought New Zealand did a great job of beating us to the 50-50 balls, the one percenter type plays and when you play a close game like that, those things really show up."

The Wildcats are now up against the Sydney Kings on Saturday before another clash on Tuesday night at RAC Arena against the Breakers.

IMAGE: Getty Images


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