Leopards 64 (10,26,38) Bristol Academy Flyers 63 (24,38,50)
A stunning final five minutes saw Leopards come from behind to the win 2012 National Cup final with a 64-63 victory against Bristol Academy Flyers. In front of a packed house at Ponds Forge in Sheffield, the Big Cats recovered from a poor first half to lift the oldest piece of silverware in English basketball.
Vernon Teel picked up the Most Valuable Player award as he finished with 23 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. Ousman Krubally came up with another big double-double, finishing with 15 points and as many boards, while five of David Buchberger’s 11 points came in the final 80 seconds as the Big Cats finished strongly. Dejan Mihevc’s team couldn’t buy a basket in the first period as Enrique Garcia opened the scoring for the Flyers, and they hit the first eight points before Teel finally broke the duck with 200 seconds gone.
Zak Wells doubled the Big Cats’ total to leave them trailing by nine, but they missed four of their six foul shots in what proved to be a prelude to a woeful display at the foul line as they scored just seven of their 21 attempts. Douglas McLaughlin-Williams sent the West Country side into the first break with a 24-10 lead and another shot from downtown by the same player saw Bristol’s lead grow to 17 at the start of the second period.
Krubally and Lukas Volskis added to Leopards’ score, but they still trailed 30-14 before Buchberger made it a 30-16 game at the five minute mark. The closest Leopards came in the rest of the first half was when Volskis made it a ten point game heading into the final minute, but Davis Bowne grabbed his own rebound and scored to put Bristol 38-26 ahead going into the locker room.
Leopards started the second half brightly, and Wells – who did an excellent defensive job despite picking up four first half fouls – made it a six point game with 4:17 remaining in the third period, but Bristol replied with a 6-0 run to keep their 12 point lead alive going into the final period.
The fourth period finally saw Leopards spark into life. All 26 points were scored by Teel, Krubally and Buchberger, but there was some excellent defensive work from Dominic Norton and the Big Cats noticeably wore the Flyers down. Teel started and finished a 10-2 run to open the fourth period and make it a four point game with three minutes gone.
Garcia broke the tear, but Krubally responded immediately before Teel tied the score at 54with 4:34 remaining n the game. Greg Streete restored Bristol’s lead and , but it wasn’t until the 3:30 mark that Leopards took their first lead of the game when Krubally scored off Volskis’ assist.
McLaughlin-Williams – who led Flyers with 21 points – put the West Country side back up by one with three minutes remaining, and after Leopards had forced a shot clock violation, Buchberger scored off Teel’s assist with 80 seconds left on the clock to level the score at 59.
Streete missed a two pointer and Buchberger saw a trey rim out before the latter sunk what proved to be the biggest shot of the game as three sweetly dropped to put Leopards 62-59 ahead with 48 seconds remaining.
Flyers called a timeout, and Buchberger sent Streete to the line where he hit one of two foul shots to make it a three point game. Teel was then fouled, and scored the first before missing the second but Tyrone Treasure’s shot rimmed out and led to a jump ball.
The possession arrow was in Bristol’s favour, but McLaughlin-Williams saw his three-pointer miss, and Krubally grabbed the rebound before being sent to the line by Garcia. The Leopards captain hit the first foul shot but missed the second, and although Treasure hit a three that just beat the buzzer it was too late to prevent the Leopards’ celebrations starting in earnest.
Leopards: V Teel (23), O Krubally (15), D Buchberger (11), L Volskis (6), Z Wells (6), J Lister (3), D Norton, J Lockwood, B Wilkinson, S Bublys (DNP), J Steel (DNP), R Addison (DNP).
2017 – Leopards shot down by Rockets
Levett Leopards were unable to build on a good start as they allowed the Reading Rockets to record a tenth straight league win with an 89-74 victory, on Sunday
2011 – Leopards make history in Manchester
Manchester Magic 78 (20,31,48) Leopards 93 (19,45,69)
OUSMAN Krubally poured in 30 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in under 24 minutes of action as London Leopards won their fifth straight game with an 93-78 victory at Manchester Magic. Mark Clark’s side trailed 24-22 two minutes into the second period before going on an 18-2 run, and they never looked back.
Leigh Greenan finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds, with guards Josh Johnson (11 points, nine assists and six rebounds) and Josh Sharlow (nine points, eight assists, four rebounds and four steals) also lighting up the stat-sheet.
It was the first time in nine attempts that the Big Cats had won at the Amaechi Centre, and they remain in joint second place in EBL Division One. The game was won on the boards, with the visitors out-rebounding Magic 45-29 while Jeff Jones’ side had no answer to Krubally as he hit 12 of his 15 field goal attempts.
Keith Page led the Magic with 23 points, including 12 from beyond the arc, and seven assists, while Ryan McAdam finished with a 20 point, 11rebound double-double in 36 minutes. James Warwick made his Magic debut against one of his former clubs, and he finished with ten points in 22 minutes.
Greenan opened the scoring, and after a tight start the visitors were still 10-9 ahead in the mid-stage of the quarter. That grew to 12-9 after a pair of Greenan free-throws, but despite the introduction of Krubally it was the home side who closed out the period strongly to lead 20-19 at the first break.
Alan Metcalfe made it a three point game with the first score of the second quarter and despite Marlan Henry tying things at 22, Ambokile Bell restored Magic’s lead with a jump shot. That proved to be the last time Magic were in the lead as Krubally hit a pair of baskets of Sharlow assists, and the home side were held scoreless for six and half minutes.
Johnson wrapped up the tear with a trey, before Page hit a single free-throw to end the run, but it was Leopards who scored the final points of the half as Sharlow drained from downtown to send his team into the locker room 45-31 ahead.
That lead never dipped below 13 in the third period, and a 10-0 run capped by a trey from Keelan Cairns saw Leopards go 58-35 up four minutes into the quarter.
They were still 23 ahead with two minutes remaining in the third following a Krubally drive to the basket, and despite a pair of Warwick free-throws, the Big Cats went into the final break 69-48 ahead.
Henry made it a 24 point game when he opened the final period with a trey, and Magic could only shave a point of that deficit in the first five minutes of the quarter as the Leopards picked up their fifth away win in seven league games.
Leopards: O Krubally (30), L Greenan (18), J Johnson (11), J Sharlow (9), K Cairns (9), M Henry (8), B Pintor Henningsen (5), S Esprit (3), R Broadmore (DNP)