Former Providence star Bryce Cotton scored 18 points to lead the Perth Wildcats past the Illawara Hawks 89-77 in Game 1 of the Australian National Basketball League Finals.
The 6-1 point guard sank 4 threes, while adding 6 rebounds and 4 assists.
Casey Prather (Florida) added 22 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists for Perth in the win.
For Illawara, Matthew Knight (Loyola Marymount) had 18 points with 11 rebounds, and Rotnei Clarke (Butler) added 11 points with 6 assists in the series opening loss.
But the star of the game was Cotton, who is Perth’s leading scorer this season, averaging 21.7 points and 3.4 assists rebounds for the Wildcats.
He comes from Turkey’s BSL league where he averaged 10.4 points, 2.3 assists, and 1.4 steals in 7 games with Anadolu Efes this season.
Cotton signed with the defending NBL champion Wildcats in December, replacing Jaron Johnson (Louisiana Tech), who was released by the team.
Cotton previously played in the Chinese Basketball Association where he averaged 21.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.7 assists for the Xinjiang Flying Tigers last year, helping lead them to the CBA playoff semifinals.
He also spent part of last season with the Memphis Grizzlies, as well as with the D-League’s Austin Spurs where he averaged 22.4 points and 4.6 assists.
A college star at Providence, Cotton led the team in scoring and assists, averaging 21.8 points and 5.9 dimes to lead the Friars to a 23-12 record and the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
He played his high school ball at Palo Verde (Tucson, AZ), where he averaged 23.6 points and 7.5 rebounds as a senior, while shooting a red-hot 57 percent from the floor and guiding the team to the state 4A semifinals.
Undrafted, Cotton has played parts of two NBA seasons with the Jazz, Suns, and Grizz, averaging 3.8 points and 0.8 assists.
For more basketball news go to http://www.blacktoptv.com/