Aron Baynes led the Bullets in scoring and rebounding as they held on to record a one-point win over the JackJumpers.

The Taipans brought up a big win at home over Melbourne, following on from another disappointing loss for the Hawks.

Catch up with all the round six NBL action.

Manek, Cotton combine for big win in Adelaide

– Jason Phelan

Adelaide’s erratic start to the season has continued, the Perth Wildcats snapping a five-game losing streak with a five-point win on Saturday night after a season-high display from import Brady Manek and a late cameo by Bryce Cotton.

Manek had a season-high 25 points, on 8-from-10 shooting, including six three-pointers on 6-from-8 shooting to propel his side to a 94-89 win at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.

Cotton took over from Craig Randall II as the NBL’s leading scorer while the 36ers’ import was recovering from a bruised sternum, but only had three points to three-quarter time.

Cotton had the hot hand in the final term, finishing with 15 points, including four triples.

The loss is a bitter pill to swallow for CJ Bruton’s men, who were up by five points in the last quarter only to concede a decisive 14-0 run to slip to a 3-4 record.

The 36ers’ home court hasn’t been a happy hunting ground early in the season with Bruton’s side managing one win and suffering two double-digit defeats, including a 29-point thumping by the Breakers, before falling to Perth.

Robert Franks had a team-high 24 points for the Sixers, with Antonius Cleveland chipping in with 22.

RANDALL RETURNS

Randall started on the bench after missing Thursday night’s 16-point win over Illawarra when Daniel Johnson and Franks had a season-high 28 and 25 points respectively.

Plenty of interest centred on how Randall’s return would affect the team’s dynamic on offence, Johnson’s productivity dropping off significantly with just four points against Perth.

The import was on the bench when the starting line-up fell behind early with a disjointed display allowing the Wildcats to start with a 7-0 run and lead by more up to 13 points in the first quarter.

Randall was inserted into the action three-and-a-half minutes in and hit his first points with a triple inside the last minute.

He worked into the game nicely in the second term and had the home fans on their feet with a three-pointer from the next suburb over on the half-time buzzer that levelled the scores.

Randall had nine points in the first half, but faded in the second to finish with 13 points on 5-from-17 shooting.

TURNOVER TROUBLE

Going into the match, Adelaide had lost the turnover count in each of its first six games this season, the team’s average of 16.3 giveaways per game second only to league-worst Brisbane.

Turnovers were a key issue for both sides in the first half.

Bruton’s men coughed up the ball seven times in the first quarter, while the visitors didn’t lose the ball once.

It was Perth’s six turnovers in the second quarter that allowed the home side to get rolling.

Both teams took better care of the ball after the break but the Sixers’ still came out on the wrong side of a 13-12 turnover count.

TICKETS PLEASE

Both sides have played their last games for a bit with the NBL season pausing for the next window of FIBA World Cup qualifiers.

Mitch McCarron’s frequent flyer points balance is set for another boost, with the point guard part of the Boomers squad set to take on Kazakhstan in the Kazakh capital city of Astana on Saturday, November 12.

It comes on the back of a busy pre-season that included a trip to the United States as well as long domestic flights to Perth and Darwin.

Kai Sotto will also report for international duty with the Philippines off to the Middle East to take on Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

The Sixers are back in action on Thursday, November 17, when they kick off Round 7 against Melbourne United at John Cain Arena, with Perth hosting the Phoenix in the second game of a double-header that night.

Baynes lifts Bullets over the JackJumpers

– Jarrod Lawler

Despite a spirited second half comeback the JackJumpers fell agonisingly short of their second win in three days after a game-tying shot in the final seconds missed off iron as the Brisbane Bullets held on for a thrilling 74-72 win at MyState Bank Arena on Saturday night.

After entering the contest off just one days rest following a gruelling week-long road trip to New Zealand and Perth, the JackJumpers were slow out of the blocks to trail by as much as 18 points before storming home to have a chance at victory on the final possession.

After trailing 46-30 in a dismal opening half the JackJumpers found their groove in a gutsy second half and almost blew the roof off MyState Bank Arena when Josh Magette capitalised on a steal with a layup to cut the lead to 72-73 with 28 seconds left.

The JackJumpers were given a chance for victory moments later when former NBA big man Aron Baynes (16 points, nine rebounds) was fouled but hit just one of his two free throws to give the Jackies the ball with 13 seconds left and trailing 74-72.

But fortunately for the visitors they were not left to rue the missed free throw as JackJumpers forward Jack McVeigh (17 points) missed a game-tying mid-range jumper with three seconds left before the Bullets tracked down the rebound as time expired.

The JackJumpers however will be left to rue their opening half in which the Bullets dominated in the paint while holding the JackJumpers to just 30 per cent from the field to hold a 16-point half time lead.

While the JackJumpers outscored the Bullets 23-18 in the third term and eventually gave themselves a chance at victory it was ultimately too little too late as the Bullets held on to the dismay of the raucous Hobart crowd.

Meanwhile it was sweet revenge for the Bullets who after losing their first five games have now won three in a row while also exacting revenge for their 90-86 overtime loss to the Jackies in Hobart last month.

While he missed the game-tying shot McVeigh was once again a huge performer for the Jackies and along with Sean Macdonald (11 points) and Milton Doyle (12 points) was instrumental in the gusty comeback.

Meanwhile for the Bullets Nathan Sobey (14 points, seven assists, four rebounds) and Tyler Johnson (13 points) were keys in the win.

The JackJumpers will now have almost two weeks to make amends for Saturday night’s loss with the team’s next game not until November 18 when they play at the Silverdome in Launceston for the first time this season in a matchup with New Zealand.

Taipans bring up big win at home

– Matthew McInerney

Adam Forde has preached about the “championship mentality” the Taipans must take if they are to be a serious contender for the NBL finals.

And on Friday, the second-year Cairns coach’s wishes came true.

Cairns snapped its winless run at home with a 97-72 triumph at Cairns Convention Centre on the back of a third-quarter show for which the heavyweight Melbourne United simply had no answer.

After being locked at 33-33 shortly before halftime, the Taipans went into the break ahead 41-33 as part of a 14-0 run in the third quarter on their way to opening a lead which at one stage reached 40 points in the final term – their biggest in-game lead of the campaign to date.

Forde has recently preached about the importance of showing no mercy – turning a 10-point lead into 20, 20 into 30, and so on – and on Friday night, the Snakes did just that as they moved into third on the ladder.

“That was a great effort by the boys,” Forde said.

Bul Kuol shot at 50 per cent from the field on his way to 18 points, Keanu Pinder grabbed his fourth double-double of the NBL23 campaign with 18 points and 11 rebounds and DJ Hogg finished with 17 points, which included five long-range bombs.

Shannon Scott (13pts) and Majok Deng (10) also hit double figures.

Melbourne United arrived in Cairns unbeaten on the road but returned south with nothing but a massive loss to show for it.

Isaac Humphries top-scored for the visitors with 17 points, Chris Goulding had 12, and Makuach Maluach was next best with 10.

They have less than 48 hours to turn their luck around when they take on South East Melbourne Phoenix in the Throwdown at John Cairns Arena.

Injury crisis? What crisis?

Luck didn’t smile on the Snakes before tip-off, who were without four regular starters for the clash.

Tahjere McCall (hip) and Mirko Djeric (ankle) were already out, before Cairns lost Sam Waardenburg (foot) and Jonah Antonio (illness) on game day.

It left Cairns with the least experienced bench in the NBL this season with a combined 21 games – 16 of which are attributed to back-up point guard Ben Ayre.

For context, United’s bench had a combined 702 appearances.

But it meant little, as Forde’s restricted rotation showed it had plenty of venom, cashing in on the consistency of the line-up to leave the United defence grasping thin air.

Gabe Hadley made his NBL debut, sinking a three with his first shot in the national league, while Lat Mayen and Josh Davey proved they belong in the leading competition.

OPPORTUNITY LOST

Melbourne United came to Cairns with the opportunity to slay a weakened opponent and returned to Victoria with their tails between their legs.

United coach Dean Vickerman lamented the way his side took a step back after a strong win against Perth on Monday, as the visitors fell to 4-5 – and out of the top six – after their first road loss of the season.

“Most of the first quarter I thought we had some good looks and had a chance to be ahead through that period so I was disappointed heading into the half, but I could see our energy levels wavering and we did some things that weren’t winning habits, and that’s what I’m so mad about,” Vickerman said.

“We took some steps forward during the Perth game in the way we played, and shared the basketball, and shared the basketball, but we just waver right now, and we saw that in the third quarter.

“We couldn’t get a stop, couldn’t get a rebound, and that game blew out very quickly in the way they kept coming downhill and making shots.

“We were looking for all kind of alternatives… through that period they were just too good.”

Things just didn’t seem to click for United, especially through the middle half, a period in which Cairns outscored Melbourne Utd 30-10 in the third quarter.

Their score at three-quarter time – 43 – was the lowest in their history, as the Snakes’ depleted roster out-enthused the visitors.

Melbourne United have less than 48 hours to recover ahead of the Throwdown at John Cain Arena on Sunday afternoon.

“I took a moment after the game to try and gather myself, I had to let this group know we took a step backwards again, it’s not what we were hoping for. We had a good week of practice in preparation for this, and we didn’t see this one coming.

“I certainly let them know the areas that weren’t acceptable.”

The NBL will then break for two weeks for the FIBA international window.

36ers add to Illawarra’s pain without Randall

– Jason Phelan

Adelaide’s season is back on track after Daniel Johnson and Robert Franks stepped up in the absence of star import Craig Randall II to fire the 36ers to a commanding 16-point win against Illawarra Hawks at the WIN Entertainment Centre.

CJ Bruton’s side went into the clash having suffered back-to-back defeats, but found its offensive rhythm to score a convincing 96-80 win on Thursday night that evens its win-loss record at 3-3.

Despite the efforts of Tyler Harvey, who had a team-high 25 points, the Hawks trailed at every break but launched a late rally that slashed the margin to just five points with a little over six minutes left.

But the Sixers responded in fine style on the road to consign the last-placed Hawks to a seventh loss in a row.

DJ FRANKS

With Randall missing with a chest injury, Johnson and Franks fired in season-high scores of 28 and 25 points respectively.

Both had their eye in early and continued to shoot at an impressive clip throughout; Johnson going 11-from-14, including 4-from-6 from three-point range from the floor, with Franks going at 11-from-15.

Franks did a lot of the heavy lifting on offence early, while Johnson was pivotal when the Hawks surged in the last quarter.

With his side’s lead slashed to just five points, Johnson helped put the game beyond reach.

The star veteran drained 13 points in the final term, including seven in a pivotal 13-2 run, to see off the Hawks.

LOW-FLYING HAWKS

The Hawks trailed by as much as 15 points in the second quarter, were down by 12 points at the half, and they were fortunate not to be further adrift given some low numbers.

Sam Froling was coming off a 27-point game against United, but had zero points from just three attempts in the first half.

Import George King, who found himself in early foul trouble and played limited minutes, also didn’t manage a basket from two shots.

Perhaps the most concerning number for coach Jacob Jackomas was his side’s dire 3-from-15 three-point shooting.

Peyton Siva was the main offender shooting zero from four, outside the arc, while Harvey went 1-from-4.

The 36ers had some low numbers of their own, Antonius Cleveland with just one free throw for the half and Kai Sotto not putting up a shot, but fared better from long range at 5-from-15.

SIVA SAVIOUR?

Siva, who was with the NZ Breakers last season, was playing his third game since signing on to replace import Justin Robinson, who has a long-term knee injury.

The American drained his first triple after the restart and had nine assists to three-quarter time as the Hawks went on a 12-2 rally in the third term.

Siva finished with 11 points and 10 assists and will only get better as he finds chemistry with his new teammates.

Wildcats suffer second defeat to Tasmania

– Brad Elborough 

The Tasmania JackJumpers don’t dwell too long on poor performances.

On Thursday night, less than a week after suffering a disappointing loss in New Zealand, they travelled to the other side of the NBL universe and handed the Perth Wildcats an eight-point defeat at RAC Arena.

The JackJumpers trailed by two points at the final change and by as many as 11 points earlier in the game.

But they shot the lights out in the final term, winning 85-77.

Josh Magette dropped three shots from beyond the three-point line in that final term, to give him six from 10 attempts at that distance for the game, on the way to 18 points.

Jack McVeigh added 22 points, while Milton Doyle was outstanding with 15 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

Tasmania shot at just 33 per cent against the Breakers on Sunday, easily their lowest conversion rate this season.

After winning four on the trot, they managed to get only 62 points on the board against the Breakers, losing by 32 points.

Against Perth, that conversion improved to a much more respectable 42.5 per cent.

LOSS HURTS THE CATS

The loss hurts the Perth Wildcats.

It extends their streak of losses to five games, with three of those now being on their home court.

There used to be three certainties in life, death, taxes and the Perth Wildcats making the NBL playoffs.

That was all challenged last season when the Cats 35-year streak of reaching the finals ended.

It’s only early in the season, but something needs to change if they want to avoid missing the playoffs, that are now extended to include six teams, for another year.

Last season, the Wildcats lost an incredible seven home games at Perth’s RAC Arena. It’s only early in this campaign and they have already been beaten on their home court three times.

SLOW AND STEADY

Perth has not been a great first-term team so far this season.

The Wildcats are averaging only 21.3 in first terms and the 19 points they scored in the opening quarter against Tasmania was their second worst from their first seven games.

But the three-point lead they held at the first break was the biggest they have managed so far in 2022-23.

They have now led at quarter time just twice this season.

The other time was against the JackJumpers in round four, when Perth scored 23 points at led by just one.

Tasmania won the next three terms, restricting Perth to just 32 second-half points.

On Thursday night, the JackJumpers won the second half 49-39. Bryce Cotton was restricted to 10 points after half-time, but still led all scorers with 26 for the game.

Originally published as NBL 2022/23 Round 6: Manek and Cotton lead Wildcats to important win over Adelaide 36ers

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