Hungry Jack's NBL
Wildcats Unleash on JackJumpers Ahead of Return Home
Buoyed by the news they can return home and with Bryce Cotton and Vic Law firing, the Perth Wildcats returned to the NBL winner's list on Monday night beating the Tasmania JackJumpers 89-78 in Hobart.
The Wildcats came into the game having lost three straight to only be clinging to a spot in the top four still and with Mitch Norton to miss the game under concussion protocols following Saturday night's loss to the South East Melbourne Phoenix.
Law and Luke Travers were in doubt too, but both played and made a significant impact for the Wildcats after they recovered from a slow start.
The JackJumpers scored 10 of the game's first 11 points and Perth didn’t hit a field goal until Law came onto the floor and knocked one down four and-a-half minutes into the contest.
From there, the Wildcats gradually worked their way on top and in the end it was Law and Cotton who proved an unstoppable combination even with the former battling an ankle complaint.
The 'Cats ended up leading by as much as 19 points after Law and Cotton drained three-pointers in the third quarter and from there cruised to the 11-point win to retain their spot in the top four at 9-6.
While the Wildcats still have four more road games before playing back at RAC Arena, they will be able to return home after this win with Western Australia's borders officially opening on Thursday.
Law put up 19 points, 13 rebounds and three assists off the bench for Perth with Cotton adding 20 points and five assists on 4/6 from downtown, but it was far from a two man show.
Matt Hodgson had his best game of the season with 15 points and six rebounds again in less than 16 minutes while Luke Travers was a spark with 16 points and five rebounds.
Wildcats coach Scott Morrison was happy to win but his focus is now on getting back to Perth.
"I'm just happy we won, we needed to win and it's a tough place to win, and a tough team to play against. I thought the guys gave one of their better efforts of the last couple of weeks especially in the last 35 minutes," Morrison said.
"I'm obviously excited about getting to go back to Perth, I just don’t want to get emotional. I'm excited to see my kids and see my wife. I've been in Tasmania for nine weeks and in Perth for four. I'm excited to get home and it's even sweeter to get a win to send off with."
It was tough going for the JackJumpers after the 10-1 start who have now lost three of their last four games.
Jack McVeigh top-scored with 16 points and five rebounds with Josh Adams adding 15 points and MiKyle McIntosh continuing his strong recent form with 15 points, three rebounds and two assists.
JackJumpers coach Scott Roth couldn’t fault his team's fight but credited the class of the Wildcats.
"It's class really at the end of the day, Perth's class and it's the same with United and these teams who have been in the trenches for years and years," Roth said.
"That's where we want this franchise to go and they played a heck of a game, and they're fun to watch and just play. It's a good learning lesson for us, unfortunately it was a loss but this game could have been a 25-point game very quickly and at one point it was getting ugly.
"Our guys just show a tremendous amount of grit and passion to keep fighting so I was proud of that end. But we have a lot of work to do and our defence has been very porous the last three or four games. We need to get that straightened out but in general, we played a heck of a team and congratulations to them."
It was a hot start from the JackJumpers who were looking to take advantage of the Wildcats' anxiety coming off three straight losses and with some battered bodies.
Jack McVeigh got the ball rolling before Fabijan Krslovic made the most of his start knocking down a three. Josh Magette then pulled up in transition to also hit from deep and suddenly the JackJumpers led 10-1.
Perth didn’t make a field goal for more than four minutes and it did come from the wounded Vic Law who came off the bench. Luke Travers backed it up with a three-point play and the 'Cats were back in it, but late Tasmania triples from Jock Perry and Josh Adams had them up 22-16 after one.
Perth got rolling to start the second period, though, and it began with Kevin White draining a wide open three. Travers and Jesse Wagstaff then finished at the rack and Travers hit a three as part of an 11-1 run that saw the Wildcats go up five.
Bryce Cotton then warmed up with seven points in the last two minutes of the half to ensure the 'Cats were up 44-39 at the break.
It was all Perth to open the second half and a game-breaking run of 10 straight points ended with a Cotton three and finished with one from beyond the arc by Law.
When Cotton and Law hit another triple each, the lead was out to 19 and only two late three balls from Clint Steindl had Tasmania in any sort of touch down 13 by three quarter-time.
Six points from Matt Hodgson, Cotton and Todd Blanchfield early in the fourth saw Perth's lead grow to 17, and with five minutes to go another three from White stretched it to 18.
Tasmania weren’t quite done yet, and a couple of threes each to McVeigh and Adams breathed life back into it making it a six-point game, but Cotton closed the door with his fourth three of the night.
Tasmania remain at home to take on the New Zealand Breakers on Saturday while the Perth Wildcats head to Adelaide to play the 36ers on Sunday.
HUNGRY JACK'S NBL ROUND 13
TASMANIA JACKJUMPERS 78 (McVeigh 16, Adams 15, McIntosh 15)
PERTH WILDCATS 89 (Cotton 20, Law 19, Travers 16)