Otago Daily Times
Cotton reels off crucial three pointer to help sink Breakers
LAUNCESTON: Bryce Cotton produced a secondhalf masterclass, capped by an outrageous threepointer on the fulltime buzzer, to spark the Perth Wildcats to a gripping 8579 overtime victory over the New Zealand Breakers at the Silverdome on Tuesday night.
Cotton, the NBL MVP favourite, overcame a scoreless opening term to smoke 26 of his gamehigh 31 points after halftime.
His brilliant performance featured an offbalance, doublepump threepointer to force overtime, which he dominated.
The Wildcats looked miles off the pace early, missing 20 of their first 23 shots, while the Breakers, paced by inform forward Finn Delany (25 points, nine rebounds), applied the early heat and led 239 at quartertime.
Then Perth flipped the script in the second, outscoring the
New Zealand side 2310 to reduce the deficit to one point at halftime before pinching the lead early in the third on Mitch Norton's corner three.
In the NBL's first fixture in Tasmania since 2005 and first in Launceston since 1982, the Wildcats led 6963 with a minute left in regulation on a Todd Blanchfield steal and layup from Will McDowellWhite's turnover.
But just when the game seemed over, McDowellWhite made amends with a strong drive and a pair of free throws with 1.7 seconds remaining.
He deliberately tried to miss the second but it banked in, which gave Perth time to set up and erase the Breakers’ threepoint advantage.
Cotton did so in spectacular fashion on the fulltime bell.
Cotton, who scored 20 of Perth's last 26 points, then singlehandedly outscored the Breakers 97 in overtime.
``This is a reminder that games can be decided by very small things,'' Breakers coach Dan Shamir said.
``We wanted to miss that last free throw, which is not always easy.
``Cotton then made a crazy three and here we are with the loss.'' — AAP