Leopards suffered their first vcars.co.uk defeat for 11 months as a poor final five minutes saw them go down 94-72 home loss against Bradford Dragons on Sunday .
The crowd at Basildon Sporting Village saw Leopards collapse in the fourth period as they were outscored 30-13 to give a scoreline which didn’t reflect the over all game .
Taner Adu led the Big Cats with 24 points, four rebounds and two assists, while Simon Cummings finished with 21 points. Carl Josey and Greg Hernandez each finished with ten points and had doubled-doubles with 13 and ten rebounds respectively .
The Big Cats started slowly, and it took 105 seconds before Cummings got them on the scoresheet with a drive to the basket to reduce the arrears to 4-2 .
A pair of Cummings free-throws midway through the period made it a one point game, and the American guard cut the deficit to 21-19 as he hit a single shot at the foul line to close out the first quarter .
Leopards failed to trouble the scorers in the first three and half minutes of the second quarter as Rihard Sulcs put his side 29-19 ahead.
Cummings (below) broke the run, and with Adu draining a trey the Big Cats went on a 15-4 run as Cummings gave them the lead for the first time at 34-33 with 3:43 on the clock .
Hernandez hit a three of Adu’s assist to make it a one point game heading into the final seconds of the half only to see Bobby Edmunds score from downtown with a buzzer beater to put his side 43-39 up going into the locker room .
Mark Saladzius – who led Dragons with 25 points – opened the second half scoring with a trey, but Cummings capped an 11-3 run as he tied the game at 50-50 with a pair of free-throws three and half minutes into the half .
That proved to be as good as it got for the hosts as Dragons hit back-to-back threes, and their lead hit double figures again with two minutes in the period remaining before Lawrence Brown broke the run. Adu cut the deficit to two heading into the final play of the quarter, but Dragons again had the final say as Vance Silcott beat the buzzer to give his side a 64-59 lead at the final break .
Saladzius opened the fourth period scoring, but a Hernandez three kept Leopards within eight at the five minute mark before their offence completely dried up and they scored only two more points as the visitors closed out the win on a 14-2 run.
Leopards: T Adu (25), S Cummings (21), C Josey (10), G Hernandez (10), L Brown (5), I Fontaine (2), R D Dunscombe, Youngblood, D Camille