Wildcats maul Cairns Taipans in NBL

Dec 31, 2017 - 10:44 AM The Perth Wildcats will enter 2018 in a good mood after they demolished the Cairns Taipans 83-68 on New Year's Eve.

Cairns had lobbied the NBL to give them this traditional game back after they lost the hosting rights last year to Brisbane, but they'll want to forget their 15-point loss in a hurry.

Perth were ruthless in Far North Queensland, racing out to a 32-18 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Chief instigator was Wildcats pointguard Bryce Cotton.

The American finished with 23 points and shot 4-6 from three, including a nice buzzer beater to ruin the hosts' celebrations.

New Wildcat and former Taipan Clint Steindl had a happy return home, brushing off some mascot banter to clock a season-high 11 points off the bench.

An undermanned Cairns could never get going.

Cairns coach Aaron Fearne's bench experiment with import pointguard Dayshon Smith continued, but it failed this time; Smith scoring just 7 points and going 1-5 from deep.

Veteran Alex Loughton was the Snakes' best, recording 23 points, his third consecutive match with more than 20.

More pressing for the Taipans was the absence of star centre Nate Jawai.

Injured in round 1, Jawai had aimed to play on New Year's Eve but his ankle is still not ready for action.

The club says he is a "day to day" prospect.

The Taipans will host Brisbane on January 5, while Perth are next away to the Sydney Kings on January 6.

Source: AAP

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