RAC Arena has hosted some epic recent battles between the Perth Wildcats and Melbourne United of late, with United winning seven consecutive wins in Perth. This one was no different, as the two sides put on another close encounter one to remember for a long time.
TaShawn Thomas set the term for the Wildcats early, scoring seven points, being a force under the basket, and being very strong on the boards.
Bryce Cotton was a threat outside on the three-point line, whilst coming off the bench, Michael Harris provided energy and a spark, to finish the quarter with two steals.
Whilst the Wildcats dominated early, with tight defence, United went on an 11-point scoring run, with the Wildcats taking a three-point lead at quarter time.
United came out in the second quarter with a 22-3 lead going into the second, with Shea IIi, Chris Goulding, and Rayjon Tucker providing the drive and punch on the offensive end.
Whilst Bryce Cotton and Corey Webster stabilised with much-needed baskets to reduce the margin, hitting clutch threes and driving to the basket, United went into the half-time break, having the force and intent on both ends of the floor, maintaining a six-point lead.
Perth dominated the points from turnovers category, winning 12-5. Whilst United’s bench was strong, 18-4, Perth had to clean up the rebounding category, with United up eight, 28-20.
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Melbourne had their chances to hold onto the lead going into three-quarter time, with Goulding, Illi, Tucker, Humphries, and Peatling providing sparks on the offensive end but provided costly with turnovers and lapses hurting towards the end of the quarter.
A 10-point run from the Wildcats towards the end of the third, with Wagstaff, Webster, and Blanchfield providing some much-needed scoring brought confidence, with United having a slim four-point leading going into three-quarter time.
Perth started the scoring in the last quarter, with Luke Travers putting the Wildcats in front. Xavier-Rathan Mayes stepped up, scoring United’s 11-point scoring run, hitting some clutch three-pointers.
With United mostly in control for most of the last quarter, with key moments of the game almost sealed the game, with Barlow, Ili, Rathan-Mayes, and Lee sailing the ship, the Wildcats made a run of their own.
Bryce Cotton stepped up, scoring the last five points and nearly turning over an inbound pass with 13 seconds left.
Whilst Goulding hit two free throws, Blanchfield stepped up nailing a three-pointer, getting fouled, and missed the last free throw.
Blanchfield was open getting his own rebound, passing off to Corey Webster, who was wide open on the three-point line, hitting the game-winning shot to seal victory for the Wildcats, 90-89.
Speaking to the media post-match, Corey Webster spoke about the “grind out” win for the team.
“It was an amazing grind-out win for the team. Coming into this one, we felt like we haven’t given Melbourne our best shot as the Wildcats this season.”
“We owe them one, and it feels good now that we’ve got some rhythm, we had some wins on the trot and to keep focused and play all the way to the end.”
“For us to see that growth as a team, it feels good.”
The Wildcats remain at home in round 11, facing the New Zealand Breakers on Friday night.