Wildcats too strong for 36ers
The Perth Wildcats showed they are far from a one man band in NBL21, going on the road for a 76-68 win over Adelaide without talisman Bryce Cotton.
Cotton was rested after picking up a groin injury against Cairns Taipans on Friday night, Perth playing their 6th game in 11 days against the 36ers but able to emerge triumphant in a game that struggled to reach great heights.
All 11 players that travelled to Adelaide played minutes for Perth and the only real concern was the fact that new recruit Will Magnay was the only one of those players who failed to score.
Still, the Wildcats were tested by the NBL schedule and finished the tough stretch with four wins and two losses, as well as valuable opportunities to put miles in the legs of their lesser lights.
Mitch Norton stood up with 19 points playing in the point guard position in Cotton's absence, while big man John Mooney continued his dominant debut season in the NBL with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
It was his 21st double double of the season in 33 matches.
Adelaide put in a better showing than Friday against Illawarra and they did want to reward their fans in the last home game of the season with another good attendance of 6422, but they just couldn’t get going offensively.
No one really made a statement for Adelaide although five players including DJ Johnson, Daniel Dillon, Tony Crocker, Brandon Paul and Jack McVeigh did reach double figures.
Perth were able to establish a four point quarter time lead to keep Adelaide at bay early, the home side edging back in to the contest to trail 36-34 at half time, the Wildcats having led at one stage by nine in the early stages of the second term.
Connor Henry's side didn't quite have the class to match it with the reigning champions despite threatening after half time, the Wildcats able to come up with clutch baskets despite the absence of their star player.
Perth coach Trevor Gleeson was pleased to emerge with a win after a challenging stretch of fixtures.
"It was a grind, without a question, that wasn't a highlight film that one," he said.
"We just had to find a way. I was really happy with our defence, to hold a team like Adelaide to under 20 points (in all four quarters). I don't know many other teams that have played that many games in that many days in the NBL, it is uncharted waters for us.
"To play that many games, throw in travel in there, it was a really big ask for the guys. The bench was excellent today . I was happy a couple of guys really stepped up when we needed them to."
Perth return home for a Grand Final rematch with the Sydney Kings on Thursday as part of round 20, while Adelaide start a road stretch to complete their season with the Breakers their next opponent in Christchurch.
IMAGE: News Limited.