Wildcats cash in on Rice Jnr NBL exclusion

Brad Elborough
Bryce Cotton's game-high 34 points have taken Perth to an 88-77 NBL victory over the NZ Breakers

The short-term future of NZ Breakers recruit Glen Rice Jnr is in doubt after being stood down by the NBL and missing their 11-point loss to the Wildcats in Perth.

The home team were too strong on Sunday, winning 88-77 at RAC Arena.

Rice had been in Perth, preparing to play, when news of his exclusion from the round-seven clash came through.

It follows a mid-week incident in an Auckland bar, resulting in the former NBA player's arrest and referral to Basketball Australia's integrity unit.

The Breakers could have used the firepower of Rice, who had averaged 22.5 points in two games since joining the Breakers as an injury replacement for fellow import Scotty Hopson.

Reigning premiers Perth enjoyed being back at home after five-consecutive games on the road including Friday's win in Adelaide.

Bryce Cotton was on fire from the opening tip-off, scoring the first nine points for the Wildcats on his way to a game-high 34.

Coach Trevor Gleeson's praised his club's support staff.

"Coming back from a tough game Friday night, the guys played outstanding," he said.

"It has been back-to-back-to-back; every Saturday, we're flying and, next week, we go to Cairns, via Brisbane.

"We have done shy of 40,000km in this past four weeks - some teams don't travel that for the year.

"Our support staff, Josh Cavanagh, has done a great job to have these guy peaking so they are playing like that and not getting tired for the second half."

The Breakers' resistance was led by Brandon Ashley who fouled out of the game midway through the final term with 16 points and seven rebounds.

Corey Webster dropped 11 of his 23 points in the third term to keep the visitors in the contest. They went into the final quarter just five points down, having trailed by 12 at halftime.

Wildcats veteran Jesse Wagstaff dropped two long shots early in the fourth to keep his side in charge.

Terrico White missed the final term because of a knee injury.

Breakers coach Dan Shamr said they just couldn't hold Cotton.

"Good players get to where they want," he said. "He finished the game with 34 points; some of them you can live with - others you cannot.

"Early in the game, if you look at the shots they took, we weren't in our positions."

Perth head back on the road to face Cairns on Saturday, while the Breakers have to regroup for their clash with the 36ers in Adelaide, also on Saturday.