Three-time NBL Most Valuable Player Bryce Cotton warned off the rest of the competition with a masterful performance as Perth recorded a solid 87-73 win over Brisbane.
Cotton was a notch higher at the RAC Arena on Sunday as he filled the stats list with 23 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and six steals to ensure Perth opened the new season on a winning note.
Desperate to bounce back after failing to make the playoffs for the first time in 35 years, the Wildcats handed the keys to rookie coach John Rillie and shuffled the roster to include the athletic Big Tashawn Thomas along with the sharp-shooting forward Add Brady Manek.
But Cotton demonstrated once again why he is the barometer of Perth’s ultimate success, the three-time Championship winner leading a 24-point turn after Brisbane took an early 11-point lead to give the hosts a 48-35 half-time advantage provide.
The home team won the second quarter 26-13, Cotton finished the half with 17 points, five rebounds and four assists, keeping the bullets at bay in the second half.
“The players have worked hard for six weeks so to be rewarded with that kind of win is a good start,” Rillie said after guiding Perth to victory on his debut as head coach.
Cotton was quick to credit Rillie for his work preparing the team for the first round, despite not having a full roster throughout preseason.
“[Rillie]trusted our defense and all of a sudden they got our offense flowing and from there we just locked in and it seemed like everyone was pretty connected for most stretches of the game,” Cotton said.
“But yeah, I’m happy with how I played, but I’m happy with how the team came together.”
https://www.smh.com.au/national/western-australia/cotton-fires-as-perth-edge-bullets-in-nbl-20221003-p5bmpb.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_national Cotton fires as Perth Edge Bullets in NBL