mp3 - download>Click here to listen to the post-match audio of Perth Wildcats coach Rob Beveridge and co-captain Brad Robbins
mp3 - download>Click here to listen to the post-match audio of Wollongong Hawks coach Gordie McLeod and captain Mat Campbell The 'Cats were disappointed with last Friday night's loss to Adelaide and only managed 13 points in the first quarter against Wollongong, but after that hit back hard with a 33-point second quarter and then responded tremendously to a fight back from the Hawks early in the last period.
Wollongong tied up scores at 66-all with just under seven minutes to go, but the Wildcats took over with the next 10 points, and then back-to-back threes to Kevin Lisch and Shawn Redhage to secure the 16-point victory.
The win was the 12th consecutive in Perth for the Wildcats against Wollongong with the Hawks now still not having won in The Jungle since November 5, 2005.
The win improves the 'Cats to 4-1 on the season ahead of road games to Gold Coast and Cairns next week, and then away trips also to Melbourne and Wollongong the next weekend.
Kevin Lisch top-scored for the Wildcats with 17 points to go with six assists and five rebounds.
Brad Robbins was outstanding in the absence of Damian Martin with 16 points, six assists and six steals.
He also nailed 2-of-2 from beyond the arc and 7-of-8 from the field.
Luke Nevill played his best game in Wildcats' colours also with 13 points and five rebounds.
Shawn Redhage hit 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Jesse Wagstaff scored nine points and pulled in five boards.
Matt Knight had six points to go with 10 rebounds as well.
Cam Tovey had five points and NBL debutant Everard Bartlett hit four points in the first 12 minutes of his career after signing during the week as a replacement for the injured Martin.
Greg Hire also scored three points in five and-a-half minutes and Drew Williamson hit two points.
Wildcats coach Rob Beveridge was delighted in the end with how his team responded from last week's loss and then the first quarter against the Hawks.
"They play a type of defence that makes you second guess, and doubt, yourself with a lot of switching and sagging off.
That really gets in the players' head and it's a real mental thing.
We just didn’t play assertive enough in that first quarter and that's why we only scored 13 points," Beveridge said.
"Obviously we made those adjustments, came out a lot more assertive and to finish with 87 points after 13 in the first quarter shows that we adjusted to that and did a lot better job.
It was all about defence this week because we put on a poor performance last week, but tonight we were very good.
"We were playing against one of the best half-court teams who can execute and I thought we did a tremendous job defensively.
We probably got caught up in their half-court game and for us to grind it out, and pull it out how we did in the end was very pleasing.
" The Wildcats got the opening basket of the game on a strong post move from Robbins, but then Wollongong was able to open up an 8-2 advantage following back-to-back threes from Rhys Martin.
Knight, Tovey and debutant Bartlett helped the 'Cats back within one, but five points straight late in the quarter for Wollongong through Mat Campbell gave the visitors a four-point quarter-time advantage.
Nevill started the second quarter on fire for the Wildcats with eight points in 2min 5secs to start off and put the 'Cats back on top.
Another three from Campbell soon after saw the Hawks regain the advantage, but after back-to-back buckets from Robbins the Wildcats led the rest of the half.
That included a three from Redhage and another on the half-time buzzer to Lisch as the Wildcats took a 46-37 advantage into the main break.
After an open three to Robbins to start the second half the Wildcats' advantage was all of a sudden out to double-figures and stayed around that mark for most of the third period.
It was back out to 10 again when Bartlett nailed a three, but Showron Glover helped Wollongong back to within six by three quarter-time.
Wollongong hit back early in the last quarter breaking even when Glover hit a three-pointer, but that sparked the 'Cats into action.
Tovey and Robbins hit baskets, Redhage a free-throw, Robbins a three and then Redhage a two on a 10-0 run.
After a score to Glover for Wollongong, Lisch and Redhage hit consecutive threes and the Wildcats went on to win by 16 points.
The Wildcats now play Gold Coast next Saturday night and Cairns on Sunday before returning to Perth, and then flying back over east to face Melbourne on November 18 and Wollongong two days later.
Perth Wildcats 87 (Kevin Lisch 17, Brad Robbins 16, Luke Nevill 13)
Wollongong Hawks 71 (Showron Glover 13, Rhys Martin 13, Mat Campbell 13)