The Wollongong Hawks will want to make their home court count against arch-rivals Perth on Friday night after suffering a 12-point loss to the Wildcats in their NBL clash at Perth Arena.
It was the Wildcats' 13th straight home win over the Hawks and levelled the series this season after Wollongong thumped the Cats by 33 points last month.
The Hawks scored just seven points in the first quarter in Perth and trailed by 16 points in the second term.
But playmaker Rhys Martin took control in the third term and the Hawks began making their shots to briefly take the lead and they led again early in the fourth quarter.
Lance Hurdle and Oscar Forman top-scored with 17 points for Wollongong, with both hitting four three-pointers.
Martin had 13 points and six assists, but dangerman Adris Deleon shot just 5-of-17 for 11 points.
The Hawks were hammered on the boards 43-25, a statistic coach Gordie McLeod admitted was critical in the loss.
Jesse Wagstaff was outstanding for the Wildcats with 20 points, seven rebounds, while new import Michael Dunigan made a memorable debut with 19 points, on 8-of-11 shooting, plus four rebounds and a block.
The Hawks loss means they slip to third (7 wins, 3 losses) on percentage behind the Wildcats (7-3) and leaders New Zealand (8-2)
The Hawks host Perth at the WIN Entertainment Centre on Friday night. Tip-off 7.30pm.