Perth survived a nail-biting finale to record a 76-75 NBL win over the Kings in Sydney on Friday night.
In front of a crowd of over 7,500, Sydney's Graeme Dann missed two free-throws with less than a second remaining to hand the Wildcats their one-point victory.
Despite being down by 11 points midway through the final quarter, Perth's Shawn Redhage (15 points), Jesse Wagstaff (15 points) and giant centre Luke Nevill's game-high 19 points formed a three-pronged assault the Kings were unable to contain.
Nevill also proved a handful for Kings' star centre Julian Khazzouh, his work at the defensive end enforcing a quiet night for Sydney's leader.
Redhage's final quarter was crucial, popping up with rebounds and draining long jumpers to break the Kings' resistance when an upset win for the home side looked on the cards.
Rookie Anatoly Bose was the star for Sydney, his 16 points and 10 rebounds almost setting up a memorable victory, but his wayward 8-of-15 free-throw shooting proved decisive.
Bose was supported by crowd favourite Jerai Grant (17 points) and Ben Madgen (16 points) in a game that featured 22 lead changes.
When Khazzouh hit the opening two baskets of the final term, then Bose and Madgen both scored, the Kings had converted a two-point lead into double figures just two minutes into the quarter.
Perth coach Rob Beveridge then went with Redhage and Wagstaff in the front court and their mobility was too much for Khazzouh and Grant.
From their the Wildcats controlled the boards and the tempo, holding the Kings scoreless for almost six minutes.
Three straight baskets from Redhage edged them in front with three minutes to play.
Madgen responded, but a putback from Wagstaff gave Perth their one-point margin before Dann's attempted heroics came up short.
In the night's other game, the Wollongong Hawks beat the Cairns Taipans 80-74 in Cairns, as the visitors spread the points across the board to pick up a rare win.
The bottom-of-the-ladder Hawks had Oscar Forman (13 points), Tim Coenraad (12) and Larry Davidson (11) to thank for sharing the scoring duties, while Mat Campbell, Tyson Demos and Glen Saville also chipped in with 10.
The Hawks remain bottom of the NBL table despite the win, while Taipans hang onto fourth spot in the last of the finals places.
ABC/AAPTags: nbl, basketball, sport, perth-6000, wa, sydney-2000, nsw, australia First posted January 20, 2012 23:41:48