On this day – Oct 5

2014 – Leopards extinguish Heat

Essex Leopards v Barking Abbey, 21 Sept 2014; Byron Richards;Leopards made short work of Hackney White Heat with a comfortable 95-43 victory in the National Cup on Sunday. The Big Cats were forced to concede home advantage due to the unavailability of their two venues, but there was never any doubt as to which team would progress to the third round. Leopards will now face London Lituanica at the Brentwood Centre in the last 16 on Sunday October 26.

Robert Youngblood’s team started well with Nathan Ashby opening the scoring, and Albert Margai converted off a steal to put them up by nine before Courtney Van Been made it an 11 point game. Treys from Byron Richards, Margai and Andre Allett helped them into a comfortable 27-14 first period lead.

Dave Ajumobi extended the lead to 38-23 with 5:18 remaining in half and Margai scored the final five points of the half as Leopards went into the locker room with a commanding 55-29 lead as Margai grabbed the rebound after missing a pair of free-throws and then converted both shots after being fouled again.

Any thoughts of a comeback were quickly extinguished with a dominant defensive display in the third period as White Heat were held to three points as Leopards took a 75-32 lead into the final break.

Ronnie Baker drained a pair at the foul line to open the fourth period before Will Ashby hit a three-pointer but it was Richards who caught fire in the final stanza, draining three successive treys on his way to a game-high 22 points.

Margai added 15 points, with Nathan Ashley finishing with 13 points and Allett 12.

2014 – No Magic for Leopards

Leopards suffered their second straight National Trophy loss as a poor first half display saw them go down 82-68 against Manchester Magic at the Brentwood Centre on Saturday.

A disastrous first period saw Robert Youngblood’s team trail 33-13 at the first break and they were down by as many as 26 points early in the second period, and although they chipped the deficit down to single digits in the second half, the damage had been done.

Kris Clark led the Leopards with 20 points, with captain Carl Josey adding 16 and Sam Iwueke having another good game with 12 points off the bench. In his first competitive game, American big man Howard Crawford had a tough night, playing only four minutes in the first half as he picked up two early fouls in the opening quarter and a third in the opening minute of the second period. He eventually finished with ten points and eight rebounds.

Lawrence Brown opened the scoring with a single free-throw, but that proved to be Leopards’ only lead of the game, and although a pair of three-pointers from Clark kept the Big Cats in touch, Magic opened a 14-7 lead after four and a half minutes. Iwueke also hit a trey in Leopards’ only score in a 9-3 Magic run, and with the home defence largely anonymous, the visitors scored nine straight points to lead by 20 at the first break.

It didn’t get any better at the start of the second period as a pair of baskets from Oyefusi helped extend that run to 15-0. With the visitors leading 44-20, Leopards finally woke up, with Josey hitting a trey in a 10-0 , and Iwueke scored the final basket of the half to cut the deficit to 49-34 at half-time.

Youngblood’s team-talk had its desired effect as Brown capped a 6-0 tear to open the second half and Crawford made it a seven point game at the mid-point in the third period before Magic closed out a low-scoring stanza with an 8-3 run to lead 59-47 at the final break.

Leopards were unable to make any inroad into the deficit in the first five minutes of the fourth period as Magic led 69-52 at the mid-point but Josey launched an 8-2 run to make it a 13 point game with two minutes remaining before hitting  a pair at the charity stripe to cut the deficit to ten with 107 seconds remaining. But that was as close as the Leopards came as Magic – who were led by 24 points from the impressive Franc Garcia – closed out the win to leave the Big Cats knowing they’ll need three wins from their final four group games to keep alive their chances of retaining the Trophy.

Leopards: K Clark (20), C Josey (16), S Iwueke (12), H Crawford (10), C Van Beest (5), L Brown (5), I Fontaine, I Nickson, R Baker, T Martin, M Isebore, R Youngblood (DNP)

2019 – Leopards beaten in Loughborough

Leopards continue to look for their first win of the season following a 94-66 defeat at Loughborough Riders, on Saturday.
Jerelle Okoro led the Big Cats with 20 points, six rebounds and three assists in 29 minutes, while Hafeez Abdul added 16 points, five rebounds and two assists  . Captain Chuck Duru finished with 12 points and three boards, while Prince Lartey added nine points.
Okoro opened the scoring with a driving lay-up and Duru’s jump shot levelled things at 4-4 before the hosts reeled off ten straight points to take a hold on the game they would never relinquish and despite five late Abdul points the Big Cats trailed 24-14 at the first break.
Okoro made it an eight point game with the opening score of the second period and Lartey kept his side in touch with a trey.
It was still a single digit Riders lead after three second period minutes as Toby Gastaldi-Davies opened his Leopards’ account with a basket from the Land of Plenty but the home side closed out the half on an 18-7 run to lead 50-31 going into the locker room. It didn’t get any better for Thomas Baker’s side as Alex Roberts hit a three, and it took three minutes before Okoro got them off the mark from a free-throw.

Back-to-back Duru scores took the margin below 20 but Roberts drained another triple and Riders outscored the visitors 26-18 in the period to lead 75-49 at the final break. Okoro buried a triple to open the fourth period and Lartey converted a lay-up to make it 75-54 but that was as good as it got as Leopards fell to 0-2 in Division One play.
Rasheed Worrell led Riders with 18 points and seven boards, while Reiss Pinnock added a 16 point, ten rebound double-double. Carl Ntifo and David Forsyth each finished with 11 points, whle Roberts’ 10 points and four assists came in under 18 minutes.

2008 – H keeps Leopards flying

Leopards 96 (29,54,73) Bristol Academy Flyers 81 (16,34,59)
Hrvoje Pervan led the way with 35 points as Leopards continued their unbeaten start to the season with a comfortable victory against Bristol, on Sunday.
The Big Cats led for all but the opening three minutes of the game as they gained revenge for last season’s play-off exit at the hands of the Flyers. Rob Gilchrist added 16 points, including several dunks, while three other players – Leigh Greenan, Lee McCarthy and Lukas Volskis – finished with 10 points.
Kenroy Wood opened the scoring with what proved to be his only points of the game, with Flyers replying with a trey from Steve Wallis for their only lead of the game. A McCarthy and-one followed by another Wallis basket levelled the score at five, before Volskis drove to the basket to give Leopards a lead they never lost.
Pervan went on to sink three treys during the period as he scored 15 points in the first quarter alone, and with Greenan adding four points and Sam Salter marking his return from injury with a score from the Land of Plenty, the Big Cats went into the first break with a 13 point lead.
That lead grew to 16 in the first three minutes of the second period thanks to back-to-back Greenan scores, and with Gilchrist dunking home a pair of efforts, Leopards remained comfortably in front. Gareth Laws sunk a three before six straight Pervan points sent Leopards into the locker room with a 54-34 lead.
Whatever Bristol coach Andreas Kapoulas said at half-time clearly had the desired effect as Robert Loftman opened the scoring, and they sliced the lead down to nine with a 13-2 run capped by a Brody Bishop three-pointer. Salter broke the lead with a three of his own, and a pair of Volskis baskets kept Leopards’ lead in double figures before a McCarthy put back sent the Big Cats into the final break leading 73-59.
That lead grew to 18 as the Leopards opened the fourth quarter with a 6-2 run, and although Guy Coles hit a three, six Gilchrist points in an 8-0 tear effectively wrapped things up with the Big Cats 88-64 ahead going into the final four minutes. Bristol had one more run in them, with seven straight points, but it was Gilchrist who wrapped up the scoring in the last second to send the home fans home happy.
Leopards: H Pervan 35, R Gilchrist 16, L Greenan 10, L Volskis 10, L McCarthy 10, G Laws 7, S Salter 6, K Wood 2, B Wilkinson, M Jarvis

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