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Australia Wildcats remain unbeaten in NBL Cup

14:18  26 february  2021
14:18  26 february  2021 Source:   aap.com.au

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The Perth Wildcats have continued their stellar start to the NBL Cup, recording a comprehensive 89-69 win over the Cairns Taipans.

Perth Wildcats have a 3-0 record in the NBL Cup after a big win over the Cairns Taipans. © Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS Perth Wildcats have a 3-0 record in the NBL Cup after a big win over the Cairns Taipans.

The Wildcats were far from their best at Melbourne's John Cain Arena on Friday night but a dominant performance at the defensive end helped them maintain their unbeaten NBL Cup record.

Perth held the Taipans to their lowest score of the season as they improved to a 3-0 record in the cup competition, defeating each of last season's other semi-final teams in the process.

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After holding a narrow - 43-41 - halftime lead, Perth's defensive adjustments after the main break resulted in an 18-9 third term as they took control.

"You want to come out of the half and nail those little adjustments we make," point guard Mitch Norton said after playing a pivotal role in holding Cairns danger man Scott Machado to eight points with five turnovers.

"Offensively, we were getting some looks in transition to start that third (quarter) that weren't quite dropping but the defence was what kept us in that game."

Bryce Cotton struggled to find his rhythm on offence but still paced the Wildcats with 23 points and eight assists while John Mooney continued his run of double-double performances with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

Cam Oliver (19 points, 14 rebounds) battled valiantly for the Taipans but a woeful night from three-point range (7-of-32) left them bereft of offensive options, especially after losing forward Majok Deng for six weeks to a knee injury.

"We were able to push when we got stops and it translated into some good shots down the offensive end but that flipped around in the third quarter," coach Mike Kelly said as the Taipans dropped to a 3-8 overall record for the season.

"Perth did a good job of pressuring us a little bit and it changed our flow offensively - we didn't run a lot in the second half."

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