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Perth Wildcats NBL 35-year playoff series over, Tasmania Jackjumpers advance to debut season

The Perth Wildcats will be missing from the NBL final for the first time since 1986 after they dropped out of South East Melbourne in a 102: 100 overtime period.

Key points:

  • South East Melbourne’s exciting OT victory over Perth means Wildcats will miss the playoffs for the first time in 35 years
  • The result means that Tasmania Jackjumpers have taken the final place in the playoffs in their first ever NBL season
  • The Wildcats led 15-0 this year in three-quarter matches, but dropped the one that mattered most.

In the final match of the NBL base, the Wildcats faced a do-or-die clash with Phoenix after Tasmania moved up to fourth place with a win over Melbourne’s minor premieres on Saturday.

Bryce Cotton had the opportunity to equal the game with less than 10 seconds remaining in the OT, but his faded jumper bounced off the iron and stunned the crowded Wildcats in the RAC Arena.

Their loss incredibly means that the JackJumpers will play United in the semifinals after Scott Roth’s team qualified for the final four in their first season in the NBL.

Before Sunday, Perth led 15-0, leading in three quarters, but Phoenix played spoilers and matched them in every race.

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Cotton (who recorded a game maximum of 28 points) faced a deficit of 80-75 at the end of the fourth part after Kyle Adnam set fire to the guests, and finally found his range after trying all night from behind the arc.

Cotton carved his way to the edge and leveled the game at 90 each, before Xavier Munford’s winning shot (24 points) shook the edge and sent the game for an extra five minutes.

Then came Zhou Qi.

With a large Chinese man feeding on posture, he was better than Matthew Hodgson of Perth and Majok Majok.

Their only score outside the 216 cm man from there was a coast to coast from Munford and an unpredictable jumper to Mitch Creek, whose ball bounced around and fell with a stain from the basketball gods.

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At 101:98, Cotton thought he had brought them to one point when a free throw was due, but was challenged to an offensive foul after using his left hand to hook around Munford.

Brandon Ashley then did one of the two on the lane before Cotton carved his way to the camp.

Phoenix missed his last attempt, but the ruling MVP failed to hit the home team.

AAP