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New man leads Perth to NBL win over Sydney

AAP logoAAP 7/01/2017

Exciting new import Bryce Cotton has made an immediate impact for the Perth Wildcats, scoring a game-high 26 points in the reigning NBL champions' 80-74 win over the Sydney Kings at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney.

The Wildcats welcomed back captain Damian Martin from a knee injury which kept him sidelined since November.

However, the star was Cotton, who shot seven from eight from the field, and a treble of three-pointers in the first quarter.

The 24-year-old guard from Arizona - who has played for Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns and Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA - was signed on Tuesday after most recently playing in Turkey.

Cotton's opening quarter return of 12 points hushed the 7702-strong crowd and his contribution proved all the more valuable, with the Wildcats' leading scorer Casey Prather struggling to find his range before being fouled out late in the match.

The Kings fought back to turn a 27-18 first quarter deficit into a slender lead in the fifth minute of the second quarter, before a four-point burst by Cotton gave the Wildcats a 38-34 lead at half-time.

18-year-old debutant William McDowell-White kept the Kings in touch with some sharpshooting in the third quarter, which reduced the Wildcats' advantage heading into the fourth quarter to just three points.

The visitors held on in a tight finish to register their first back-to-back win since October and restore the club's hopes of making the finals for a remarkable 31st consecutive year.

Jason Cadee, Greg Whittington, Brad Newley and Kevin Lisch each registered more than 10 points for the Kings.

But, after a promising start, their season may be slipping away, with just one win from the past six home games and an 11-11 record overall.

Cotton credited Perth coach Trevor Gleeson and his new teammates for his match-winning display.

"I was just going out there and enjoy myself and do whatever I can to fit into the system and get adjusted to the style of play of my teammates," said Cotton.

"It's been a transition but I've had the coach and my teammates doing a great job to get me accustomed to everything. So it hasn't been as hard as it usually would be in circumstances like this.

"I was just trying to play my game and when I felt I had some open shots I just wanted to take them."

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