On this day – Jan 21st

2012 – Leopards hammer Thunder

Worthing Thunder 52 (13,28,41) Leopards 89 (19,38,63)

STUNNING performance saw Leopards record their first ever road victory against Worthing Thunder on Saturday as the second placed hosts were hammered by 37 points.

Vernon Teel put the Leopards 4-3 ahead with just over three minutes gone at Worthing, and they never trailed again, but it was a 12-2 run at the start of the second half which did most of the damage for Leopards as they recorded their first ever away with against the Thunder. The Big Cats had lost their previous eight road games against Thunder, only once keeping the margin down to single digits, but he high-flying Worthing side had no answer as the Big Cats produced a dominant second half performance.

Dave Buchberger had his best game as a Leopard, scoring four three-pointers on the way to a 19 point, eight rebound double-double. Bradley Wilkinson also put on his best display since returning to the club with ten points and seven boards in just 11 minutes of action. Teel again led the Big Cats’ scoring with 21 points and nine board, with Ousman Krubally adding a 15 point, ten rebound double-double.

Hank Rivers opened the scoring for Thunder, but Lukas Volskis replied, and by the five minute mark Leopards were 10-5 ahead after a Krubally shot. Rivers pulled Thunder within a point, but 6-0 run capped by a Zak Wells basket made it a seven point game, and John Lister’s trey sent Leopards into the first break with a six point lead.

Buchberger drained his first trey to open the second period, and Krubally also got into the act as he hit a pair from downtown to give the Big Cats a 30-13 lead after two minutes of the quarter. A pair of Buchberger free-throws saw Leopards lead by 20 with 5:40 in the half remaining, but the home side chipped away at the deficit as they went on a 12-4 run and a needless Teel foul saw Francesco Amato cut the Leopards’ lead to ten going into the locker room at half-time.

Whatever coach Dejan Mihevc said at half-time had the desired effect as both Buchberger and Lister scored from downtown as Leopards opened strongly to restore the 20 point margin with three minutes of the half gone and Buchberger again drained from downtown to make it a 24 point game with 4:28 remaining in the third period.

The lead peaked at 25 in the quarter following a Teel free-throw, and the Big Cats went into the final break with an almost unassailable 63-41 lead. Courtney Small cut that lead to 20 with the first score of the fourth period but Joe Lockwood and Teel kept the scoreboard ticking over, and an and-one followed by a jump shot from Teel took the lead out to 29 with 7:30 on the clock and ended any chance of a comeback.

Wilkinson put his name on the scoresheet as the lead continued to grow and Ryan Addison ensured that all ten Leopards were on the scoresheet by buying a trey to wrap up the Big Cats’ biggest win of the season. Small led Worthing with 13 points, though he needed 15 shots and turned the ball over six times, with youngster Jack Sunderland impressing with 11 points.

Leopards: V Teel (21), D Buchberger (19), O Krubally (15), B Wilkinson (10), J Lister (6), Z Wells (6), L Volskis (5), R Addison (3), J Lockwood (2), D Norton (2)

2017 – Disappointment in Loughborough

Essex Leopards v Plymouth Raiders 22 Jan 2017; Dougie Bennett;Leopards slipped to tenth in the Division One table with a disappointing 63-53 loss at Loughborough Riders, on Saturday.

With the Big Cats again short-handed (words I’m tired of typing) as captain Mike Martin and Tosin Oyelese both missing,  it was another poor result for the Essex side.

AJ Roberts led the way again with a massive 18 point, 15 rebound double-double, adding five rebounds, but Dougie Bennett – captaining the side for the first time – was the only other visiting player in double figures with 11 points and three assists..
A painful start to the game saw only Darrell Bethune score a field goal as the Big Cats trailed 15-4 going into the final minute of the opening period before Jamie Hayes and Bennett hit free-throws to cut the deficit to 15-7 at the first break .
Bennett converted from downtown to open what proved to be a good second period for the Big Cats, and a 10-3 run launched by Hitchman saw them tie the score at 22 midway through the quarter.
Essex Leopards v Team Northumbria, 15 Jan 2017; AJ RobertsBennett gave the Big Cats their first lead of the game with a pair of free-throws but the offensive woes returned as Riders closed out the half on a 5-0 run to lead 27-24 at half-time,
Roberts opened the third period scoring for Leopards but they trailed by at least four points throughout the stanza and despite the American converting a lay-up, the visitors trailed 45-34 at the final break
The home side extended that lead to 17 after four fourth period minutes but the visitors showed they wouldn’t go down quietly as Roberts and Bethune chipped away at the deficit.
Roberts made it a ten point game heading into the final two minutes but an offence that lasted 35 seconds and saw three shots didn’t produce any points, and Riders closed out the win.


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