Knockout blow the difference between victory and defeat, says Wildcats coach
IT was the blow that Perth coach Rob Beveridge said cost the Wildcats the game.
With Perth leading the Townsville Crocodiles with little over five minutes to play, Wildcats power forward Matt Knight was knocked out in a sickening collison under the basket.
Going up for an offensive rebound, the 25-year-old became tangled up with Crocs point guard Will Blalock at the same time as Luke Schenscher was coming over the top of the pair.
The result was a grisly scene of Knight diving head first into the hardwood.
Not only did the incident rob the ’ Cats of their leading big, but as medics attended to the star athlete Beveridge felt the Crocs got their final wind.
‘‘ We want to play a game that is up tempo and creates fatigue down the stretch, so when you have that fiveminute break it affects their ability to refresh and that was definitely a huge advantage for Townsville,’’ Beveridge said.
‘‘ Matty is one of the premier big men in the league, he is a great defender, a great rebounder and all-round outstanding player. So yeah, when you lose a player like that it hurts.’’
So much so that it was Knight’s injury that Beveridge was most animated about in the post-match press conference. ‘‘ Right now we are probably more concerned with Matty than losing the game,’’ Beveridge said.