Perth go down in NBL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Perth go down in NBL

11/01/2003 05:36:06 AM Comments (0)

Perth suffered a poor start to its Sunshine Swing campaign, going down 98-96 to Cairns in overtime in the National Basketball League clash at the Cairns Convention Centre.

Taipans import Jayson Wells drained two sets of free throws inside the final 90 seconds of overtime to carry Cairns to its eighth win of the season.

The Wildcats must now protect a 15-4 record against a rampant Townsville Crocs looking their eighth straight win when the teams meet in Townsville.

The Wildcats were forced to play the final 2.24mins and the overtime period without key man American Rob Feaster who was fouled out with 31 points and 10 rebounds to his name.

"It is real tough to sit and watch the final seven minutes go by," Feaster said.

"A lot of times I have had five fouls and been able to stay out of trouble and pick and choose.

"But it was tough tonight."

The usually smooth Perth machine faltered in the extra period, coughing up three vital turnovers as Cairns rode the emotion of a noisy 4,183 crowd to finish ahead 45-42 in the boards and 49 to 41 per cent shooting.

Wildcats coach Allan Black said he was confident his players could hold their emotions in check in the stifling environment of the Swamp tomorrow night.

"It will be tough and we always knew it was going to be tough," Black said.

"Our guys handle the road pretty well and are usually strong in the second game so I am not worried about fitness.

"But whenever you are on the road you expect the home team to get more from the emotion off the contest than the road team."

For Perth, James Harvey notched 17 points and Tony Ronaldson had 14, while Wells (21) did the job for Cairns, Darnell Mee had 18 and Anthony Stewart 17.

A Ricky Grace foul with three seconds on the clock handed Mee two free throws and the chance to seal victory in normal time but the usually reliable guard could only sink the second to send the game into overtime.

Cairns coach Guy Molloy said he was proud of the way his players responded to criticism of its negative home record.

"We had to rise to the challenge of playing the number one team in the league and whenever you beat the number one and make it exciting, it is a great job by the boys," Molloy said.

"It was a timely win. We had a theme of being aggressive on offence and we wanted to play very strong on the D and that was the platform.

"There have been critics and the team has done a great job to stick together. I was proud of the way the guys came out hard tonight."

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