NBL Perth Wildcats too good for South East Melbourne Phoenix

Perth have outplayed South East Melbourne in the second half to record an impressive 108-98 NBL victory.

The defending champions found themselves seven points down in Sunday afternoon's third quarter at Melbourne Arena, but imports Bryce Cotton and Terrico White inspired the visitors to their fourth win in six outings.

Cotton sparked Perth's second-half comeback on his way to a team-high 26 points, while White scored 13 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter to close out his team's tenth win of the season.

"The game was really in the balance and then we got on a bit of a (late) roll offensively," Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson said.

"We kind of got our tails up and got some stops there so that was a really good second half for us."

The Wildcats enjoyed a healthy number of second-chance opportunities in the first half by grabbing 14 offensive rebounds, but wayward shooting proved costly. A late burst from the Phoenix ensured the home side went into halftime with a five-point lead.

But Cotton lifted Perth with 15 third-quarter points and White took over in the final quarter to seal the result.

Nick Kay racked up 18 points and 11 rebounds while reserve Clint Steindl made a valuable contribution with 17 off the bench.

"Bloody good team - best team in the NBL," Phoenix coach Simon Mitchell said after the second-half turnaround.

"It was a particularly great performance tonight by them to get all their shooters rolling."

Mitch Creek (31 points) produced another standout performance and Ben Madgen added 20, but it was not enough to prevent the Phoenix falling to their fourth loss in five games.

South East Melbourne made a high-energy start to the contest, typified by Creek's 13-point burst, while Tai Wesley added two quick baskets on his return to action after a two-month absence with a hamstring injury.

But Perth's superior offensive rebounding, plus eight points from Steindl, handed the visitors a 30-28 edge after one quarter.

The Phoenix entered the second period having missed all three long-range efforts, but quickly found their shooting touch, Madgen nailing his side's fifth triple for the quarter. He combined with Creek to outscore Perth 7-0 in the final two minutes for a 51-46 halftime lead.

The hosts appeared to have all the momentum early in the third quarter, but Cotton again showed why he was one of the most-dangerous scorers in the league, hitting three triples before driving the length of the court to close out a 15-point quarter and a 77-74 Perth lead.

Steindl opened the fourth period with a three-pointer and White nailed back-to-back triples to break South East Melbourne's resistance.