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

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