Leopards powered their way into the National Cup quarter-final as Nottingham Hoods were beaten 88-73 at Essex Arena on Sunday.
The scoreline didn’t reflect the domination of the Big Cats who trailed for just 16 seconds and led by as many as 35 points in the third period.
Leopards will now host Manchester Magic in the quarter-finals at the Brentwood Centre on Sunday November 18.
Luke Mascall-Wright came off the bench to lead Thomas Baker’s team with 18 points and seven rebounds. Andre Lavinier drained four of his seven three-point attempts to finish with 14 points, while captain Sam Newman had 11 points, six assists and three rebounds before leaving the action early with a knee injury.
Lee Hodges finished with a massive 20 rebounds to go with his 11 points and four assists as his dominance in the pain freed space for Leopards to drain 11 of their 26 three-point attempts.
Slavik opened the scoring for the visitors, answered by Tom Child, and treys from Newman and Findlay Wood gave the home side a lead they would never lose.
Two treys apiece from Mascall-Wright and Lavinier gave Leopards a 26-13 first period lead, and the barrage from downtown continued Alejandro Batista and Lavinier hit from long range to send the Big Cats into the locker room with a 48-28 lead.
Duro got in on the act in the third period , draining a pair of treys on his way to ten points in the quarter, and Wes Flaherty’s lay-up saw the lead peak at 69-34 midway through the stanza,
Lavinier sunk his final trey of the game to hep Leopards lead 77-51 at the final break, and although they took their foot off the gas in fourth quarter, they comfortably closed out the win.
Meher (19) and Slavik (15) led the Hoods.