NBL 2014/15 Round 8: ‘Cats run hot early to send Snakes packing

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A devastating 31-10 opening term has seen defending NBL champions Perth see off Cairns 84-66 at Perth Arena on Friday night.

The Wildcats surged to a 21-point first quarter lead as out-of-sorts import DeAndre Daniels caught fire, netting himself 10 points for the term on perfect shooting to get his side going.

Both sides started slowly but the home side soon found their groove, rattling off 10 straight points to open up a double digits lead before a Scottie Wilbekin triple briefly halted their progress.

It was short lived for the Taipans, however, as Perth kept the foot down with another 14-0 burst to open up a 26-5 lead after just eight minutes of play.

The second term saw the visitors show some resolve, closing the gap to 15 points at the main break and head into the second half with some momentum on the back of some hot shooting from big man Alex Loughton (21 points).

A three-pointer to Stephen Weigh opened the third quarter and got the visitors within 12 and a comeback looked on, however the visitors couldn’t capitalise on their defensive stops and the Wildcats made them pay, scoring another 12 points in a game-breaking run that saw the margin reach 22 points.

Try as they might, Cairns simply couldn’t bridge the gap as Perth answered every challenge that was thrown their way, eventually running out comfortable winners and sending the Taipans to their fourth defeat in their past five games.

Daniels finished the match with 22 points and 8 boards in his best display for some time, while Shawn Redhage (15 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists) put in a polished display to guide his side to another home victory.

Loughton led his side’s scoring while Torrey Craig (12 points, 8 rebounds) provided energy off the bench but it wasn’t enough.

After a strong start to the match, Wilbekin fell away to finish with 10 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists but shot just 3-of-12 from the floor and missed his last six shots whilst appearing to be hampered by a leg injury for much of the second half.

Cairns will host Townsville in the latest Reptile Rumble on Sunday as they look to find some form, while Perth will have a week to think about their next match, hosting Wollongong next Friday night.

Perth 84 (Daniels 22, Beal 15, Redhage 15)

Cairns 66 (Loughton 21, Craig 12, Wilbekin 10)