Comeback not enough for Leopards

Leopards v Barking Abbey Crusaders – 6 Oct 2018; Chuck Duru

A strong second half could not prevent Leopards starting life at the University of Essex with an 84-77 loss against Barking Abbey Crusaders, on Saturday.
The Big Cats erased a 20-point deficit with a strong end to the third period and a good start to the fourth, but they ultimately came up short down the stretch.
In front of a big crowd, captain Sam Newman led the home side with 18 points, five rebounds and four assists, while Chuck Duru added 15 points on his competitive debut.
Luke Mascall-Wright continued his good early-season form with 12 points, nine rebounds and six assists, with Lee Hodges adding 11 rebounds to his 12 points.
The Big Cats won the rebound battle 46-38 but saw their up-tempo game slowed down and they were outshot from all distances by the visitors who had a sparkling performance from Ade Adebayo as the youngster hit 35 points in as many minutes including four of his five three-point attempts.
Duru became the first Leopards to score at their new venue when he split a pair of free-throws, but the Big Cats struggled to get points on the board in the opening minutes and despite treys from Newman, Andre Lavinier and Duru, they went into the first break trailing 19-16.

Leopards v Barking Abbey Crusaders – 6 Oct 2018; Lee Hodges

The second period proved to be the killer for the home side as Barking went on an 8-0 run outscoring them by ten points, and a pair of Newman free-throws could only reduce the arrears to 45-31 going into the locker room at half-time.
A trey from Feeney saw Barking’s lead balloon to 20 at the midway stage of the third period before Thomas Baker’s team finally clicked into gear as back-to-back treys from Tom Child 15-5 run to end the period and cut the deficit to 61-51 at the final break.
Newman scored from the Land of Plenty to open the fourth period and four Mascall-Wright points in an 8-0 run from the hosts saw them cut the visitors’ lead to 63-62 lead with seven minutes of the game remaining.
Adebayo and Duru exchanged treys but the young English guard did all of the damage down the stretch as he scored 21 straight points for Abbey to seal their win.