Hungry Jack's NBL
Cotton Signals Intentions as 'Cats Hammer 'Jumpers
Bryce Cotton sent an ominous warning of what he has in store for #NBL22 as he caught fire like only he can to help the Perth Wildcats blow the Tasmania JackJumpers away in the third quarter on their way to a 30-point NBL Blitz win.
Both teams had already beaten the Cairns Taipans but lost to the Adelaide 36ers during the NBL Blitz in Tasmania, and with the familiarity within the JackJumpers playing squad and coaching staff with the Wildcats, it was an intriguing match up.
The 'Cats were down on manpower too with new import Michael Frazier joining Todd Blanchfield, Jack Purchase and Mitch Norton sidelined, but once two-time MVP Bryce Cotton warmed to the task, he blew the game wide open.
After a tight first quarter, the Wildcats did open up a 48-38 advantage by half-time and then they went on with the job in the third term to put the result beyond doubt.
It became the Cotton show as he left no doubt he is back to full health after missing last season's finals series. With Perth already up 12, Cotton took over starting by knocking down a triple and then another just over a minute later.
Both saw him knock them down with a hand right in his face before he delivered an on-point pass for Majok Majok to finish inside. It was a purple patch for a couple of minutes that reminded everyone just how good he is and from there, the Wildcats rammed home their advantage to end up winning 98-68.
Despite only having seven fully contracted players suit up, there was plenty from the Wildcats for new coach Scott Morrison to be excited about, starting with Cotton who finished with 18 points, six assists and five rebounds while knocking down 5/6 from three-point territory.
Rising star Luke Travers showed exciting form too not only with his 16 points, eight rebounds and three assists on 6/9 shooting, but his defence was outstanding with three steals and two blocks where he showed off his remarkable timing and athleticism.
Majok Majok is ready to make a strong return after missing all of last season too finishing with 13 points and three rebounds with Kevin White keeping his form from last season's finals going with 11 points on 3/6 shooting from long range.
Development player Kyle Zunic impressed as well with 11 points on 3/4 shooting while Mitch Clarke is another new DP and after leading the Perry Lakes Hawks to two local championships as point guard under the tutelage of Matt Parsons, he had 10 points and three assists in almost 21 minutes.
Vic Law also contributed 10 points and nine rebounds, and captain Jesse Wagstaff seven points, four boards and three assists.
The 30-point margin obviously wasn't what the JackJumpers were after especially with Scott Roth and Jacob Chance fresh off working with the Wildcats while Will Magnay, Jarred Bairstow and Clint Steindl were part of the team last season.
Josh Adams top-scored for Tasmania with 17 points and four assists with Sam McDaniel adding 16 points and four rebounds, Mikyle McIntosh 10 points and three boards, and Josh Magette five points, seven assists and two steals.
The JackJumpers are back in action on Friday against the Cairns Taipans before the Wildcats take on the Adelaide 36ers later that evening. Both teams then open the NBL season proper next Friday night with Tasmania hosting the Brisbane Bullets and the Wildcats at home to the Sixers.
HUNGRY JACK'S NBL BLITZ
PERTH WILDCATS 98 (Cotton 18, Travers 16, Majok 13)
TASMANIA JACKJUMPERS 68 (Adams 17, McDaniel 16, McIntosh 10)