Cotton leads Wildcats to thrilling win over 36ers
In front of 11,326 fans, Cotton ignited the Wildcats’ NBL24 campaign with a season-high 29 points in the hard-fought 99-88 win.
The three-time NBL MVP scored 27 after quarter-time and hit six three-pointers in a stern warning to the rest of the competition.
New Zealander Hyrum Harris, in his first starting-five chance as a Wildcat, landed the knock-out punch from outside the arc with a little over a minute on the clock.
Harris finished with nine points and six rebounds to make the most of his opportunity.
Jordan Usher provided plenty of energy and a spark off the bench, especially during his eight-point second term, on his way to 17 for the game to go with four rebounds.
Fellow import Kristian Doolittle (seven points and eight rebounds) grew in confidence as the game went on, bringing the house down with a massive dunk and using his aggression for a driving layup early in the second half.
Top-five NBA draft prospect Alex Sarr (10 points and six rebounds) also had some clutch moments across the match, while big man Keanu Pinder (12 points and seven rebounds) started and finished strongly.
The second quarter was Cotton O’Clock, with the superstar catching fire with back-to-back threes to go from two points at quarter-time to 13 at the main break to give Perth a 50-44 advantage.
Bryce Cotton was in his bag tn. ?? pic.twitter.com/vIGHpseg2Z— Perth Wildcats (@PerthWildcats) November 4, 2023
The Wildcats’ lead grew to as much as 20 points late in the third before Adelaide hit back hard before three-quarter time to cut the margin back to 73-68.
The visitors remarkably took the lead early in the last when Tohi Smith-Milner scored his first of two triples in a row.
Usher also hit consecutive baskets, including one from outside the arc, to tie the scores at 80-apiece with less than six minutes left.
Threes to Cotton, Harris and veteran Jesse Wagstaff put the game to bed and extinguished a strong fightback from the 36ers.
The Wildcats’ next assignment is against Melbourne United at John Cain Arena on Monday, followed by a home clash against New Zealand at RAC Arena on Friday night.