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Gleeson blasts passive Wildcats guard

AAP logoAAP 3/12/2016 Steve Barrett

Perth Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson applied the blowtorch to import Jaron Johnson following the enigmatic shooting guard's first-half disappearing act in Saturday's thrilling 92-86 overtime loss to the Adelaide 36ers.

The American had just one point, one rebound and one (unsuccessful) shot attempt up to halftime, as the Sixers bossed proceedings, before bursting to life in the fourth with three three-pointers to pilot the Wildcats' valiant fightback from a 15-point third-quarter deficit.

Johnson, released a fortnight into the NBL season before being dramatically reactivated 10 days later when Andre Ingram quit after two games with mental health issues, finished with team-highs of 18 points and four assists, plus seven rebounds.

But his absent first half irked Gleeson.

"To only have one shot (attempt) and one point at halftime is not going to cut it," Gleeson said.

"I said to him at halftime 'just go and score, I don't care how you do it'.

"When he puts his mind to it he's good but he doesn't do it for long enough.

"That's the mentality you've got to have. We need him to be aggressive."

Johnson heeded his coach's advice and caught fire in unison with Jarrod Kenny.

The pair combined for five treys in the fourth period to transform a 15-point third-quarter deficit into a tied game at the end of regulation, before the well dried up again in overtime, the 36ers finally drawing clear.

"We had our opportunities. We fought hard in the second half," Gleeson said.

"It came down to that last two minutes (of overtime). You've got to make plays - and they (Adelaide) made plays.

"It was 'A' for effort but we still lost the game."

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