Leopards reached the National Cup quarter-final with an 88-78 victory at Sussex Bears, on Sunday.
In contrast to Saturday’s loss against Reading Rockets, the victory against Division Two side Bears saw the game won in the third period as Leopards overcame a 39-35 half-time deficit to blow the home side away with a 35-16 quarter.
Thomas Baker’s side started slowly with the home team scoring the first six points of the game, and it took treys from Abdul and Prince Lartey to keep them in touch,
But a basket from Ray Akpofure launched an 11-0 run as Kaftaniukas drained a trey top help his side lead 21-15 at the first break.
The second period proved to be a battle of attrition. Cummings put his side 28-21 up with 6:51 on the clock, only the for hosts to reply with a 9-2 run to force inside two and a half minutes a timeout from Baker.
That run was extended to 15-2 as Leopards were repeatedly beaten in transition and although Mongo splashed a triple Abdul hit a jumper, the hosts went into the locker room ahead by four.
Baker’s words at half-time certainly hit the mark as Mongo and Abdul both scored from downtown, and another Abdul triple gave Leopards a comfortable lead.
Another pair of Abdul treys along with one from Lartey and an Akpofure basket saw Leopards reel off 11 points to put them up by ten and they would never trail again.
It was still a ten point game heading into the final minute of the period before Abdul hit a pair at the foul line and Okoro converted an and-one to put his side 70-55 ahead going into the final break.
Cummings made it a 17 point game with the first score of the fourth period, and the Hatfield-based player hit a pair of free-throws to keep :Leopards in control.
But Bears had one more run left in them as they scored 12 of the next 14 points, and reduced the arrears to 82-76 with 1.53 on the clock when the hosts called a timeout.
That break didn’t work for the home side as Abdul sunk a trey and Leopards never looked back as they progressed to the last eight..