Vic Law starred in the Wildcats' 94-80 win over the Illawarra Hawks. (Photo: NBL)

The 'Vice' connection was key once again for the Wildcats, who took the spoils for the second time straight against the Hawks.

The Perth Wildcats defeated the Illawarra Hawks 94-80 just days after doing the same. While the Wildcats did start slow, ending the first quarter trailing, the ‘Vice’ connection between Vic Law and Bryce Cotton showed their worth in the 14-point victory.

Burswood Vice

The Cotton to Law connection may have started the game slowly, but from the second quarter onwards it was a completely different tale.

Cotton finished with 28 points, six rebounds and two assists in 32 minutes played, while Law finished with 24 points, eight rebounds and two blocks in 33 minutes played.

Both are part of the top three scorers in the league and are always part of early MVP discussions. These two are easily the best one-two punch in the league, and when they aren’t firing, they have Michael Fraizer II, Luke Travers, and especially Todd Blanchfield to back them up.

As it happened

Antonius Cleveland started the game on fire from both ends. Blocks, steals and even an ankle breaker came all in a matter of minutes.

Matt Hodgson played his best game in red as he swatted away Duop Reath on a fade away jumper, while Luke Travers showed his class with a very tough up and under lay-up.

Bryce Cotton ended the first quarter with a fast break to put the Wildcats within an arm’s reach, ending the quarter 22-21 and ending this season’s first quarter woes. Cotton did start poor early in the game, but he came out swinging in the second.

Perth lacked rebounding intensity as Cleveland continued to feed on its offensive mistakes.

But the three time MVP quickly got going. Drawing fouls and getting to the charity stripe, and disrupting ‘the artist formerly known as the Hawks run’. In a top of the table clash, a shootout was on.

Cotton was on fire. Finishing the half on 20 points, he led all scorers as the Wildcats took the lead 44-46.

Tyler Harvey used the floater to great effect to open Illawarra’s account in the second half, as Justinian Jessup became white hot as he drained a buzzer beating mid-range shot.

The Hawks couldn’t handle the Law as Vic drained a fade away three to silence the ‘true red army’. Soon after an LT put back off a missed Cotton three ball continued Perth’s run.

Todd Blanchfield continued to put nightmares in Hawkhead’s dreams as he hit a three on the eve of three-quarter time, with the Wildcats leading 65-75.

The Wildcats came out like a ton of bricks in the final term, and crushed the Hawks with an early run in the first minute. Although, Perth continued to give Illawarra second chance points, as Brian Goorjian’s side flew back into the game.

However, the Vice connection ended Illawarra’s comeback. Finishing the game with a 80-94 score line, the Wildcats came away 14 point victors in Wollongong.

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Cleveland shining light for Hawks

Antonius Cleveland dominated the early minutes of the game, yet cooled down drastically as the game progressed. The Hawks three man finished with 22 points, seven rebounds, three steals and three blocks in 32 minutes played. 

On the mic

The Wildcats now play the Sydney Kings on Sunday, while the Hawks travel to Cairns to play the Taipans on Saturday.

Perth head coach Scott Morrison was asked about their upcoming clash with the ‘Hoops Capital’ side.

“We haven’t had much time to prepare for Sydney yet,” he explained.

“Obviously, you see most of the games in the league on TV and coaching staff have started a little bit of preparation for that game.

“It’s a quick turnaround so we’ll have to keep our scouting report and our game plan pretty simple, and hope that we can bring the intensity, bring our teamwork, communication. Stuff like that, and play together.

“We have a plan for whatever we see, it’s just a matter whether we execute it or not. So, we’ll have to turn our attention pretty quick, but I think we’re going to try and take some time to rest here in the next 24 hours.

“It’s been a grind and we really haven’t had a day off since we left Perth other than travel days, which don’t really count.

“I think it’s more important for us to go in fresh, to be able to compete with a good team in Sydney, and not worry so much right now [about] the X’s and O’s.”

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