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Bryce Cotton blitz keeps Perth Wildcats running hot

Bryce Cotton helped Perth Wildcats to a convincing NBL win over Adelaide 36ers.

Bryce Cotton helped Perth Wildcats to a convincing NBL win over Adelaide 36ers. Photo: Getty

A third-quarter blitz from Bryce Cotton helped blow away Adelaide 36ers as Perth Wildcats prevailed 100-82 in their NBL clash.

The 36ers had been looking better under new coach Scott Ninnis, but trying to curtail Cotton is another matter and the three-time NBL MVP put on a masterclass on Thursday night.

In three games under club Hall of Famer Ninnis since he replaced CJ Bruton for his second stint as head coach, the 36ers had shown some improvement, including a last-up win over Brisbane Bullets.

However, trying to keep the high-octane Wildcats in check at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre was always going to be a significant challenge.

The Sixers did well to keep pace with the Wildcats in the first quarter, with 29 points their highest score in an opening period all season.

The problem was that the game was at Perth’s pace, and they had 34 points on 76 per cent shooting.

The Wildcats still led 54-48 at the half, then blew the game wide open thanks to Cotton.

Not only does he continue to put himself in prime position for a fourth MVP award, but he is also a strong chance for a fourth career championship.

Cotton was unstoppable in the third quarter, including a run of three consecutive three-point bombs that blew Perth’s lead out to 16 points.

He scored 11 of his 24 points for the game in that quarter before his captain and 461-game veteran Jesse Wagstaff put the icing on the cake with a couple of threes.

Kristian Doolittle was again Mr Everywhere with 19 points, five rebounds and two steals as Perth’s lead rocketed out to 25 points by three-quarter-time.

It was out to 30 early in the fourth, and despite Adelaide getting it back to 18 by the end, it was only wallpapering over the cracks.

The Wildcats remain in second spot on the NBL ladder with an 11-7 record after three games on the road in five days, with coach John Rillie proud but not content.

“We had a nice third quarter and we had a nice flow in the first half,” he said.

“But to build the lead like we did and then the final score probably doesn’t truly reflect how for the most of the game we played, so that’s disappointing.”

The 36ers (5-12) remain last, with Isaac Humphries again impressing down low with 24 points and five rebounds.

Next Star Trentyn Flowers added 13 points and six boards, but Ninnis didn’t mince his words post-match about the performance.

“It was just a hugely disappointing game,” he said.

“We had an opportunity to come out after our game against Brisbane and take another step forward, instead we took two steps backwards.

“That is bitterly disappointing and to lay a giant turd in the third quarter is just not what we expect, and it’s something we won’t accept.”

-AAP
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