Leopards outlast Magic for eighth league win

Leopards make hard work of collecting their eighth league win as a big crowd at Brentwood saw a strong third period prove to be enough to beat basement side Manchester Magic 83-75, on Sunday. .
After rushing into a 17-5 lead, the Big Cats seemed to take their foot off the gas, and it took a 26-19 third quarter to put them in a position to win the game.
They weren’t helped by Lee Hodges collecting two technical fouls midway through the second period and beind forced to leave the action.
Captain Sam Newman again led the way with 23 points, six rebounds and four assists, while Asante Sandiford and Chuck Duru each had 17 points along with seven and six boards respectively.
Duru was on fire in the opening couple of minutes as he hit back-to-back three-pointers and after Hodges had made it 14-5 at the five minute mark, Duru drained another triple to put his side up by 12.
A 7-2 run brought the visitors back into the game but Findlay Wood continued the barrage from downtown to send Leopards into the first break with a 23-14 lead.
The Land of Plenty continued to be Leopards’ home as Andre Lavinier took a matter of seconds following his introduction to drain a trey and Newman also got in on the act to make it 29-14 after 90 seconds on the second period.
Newman took his personal run to six straight Leopards’ points but Magic dragged themselves back into the game as Richard Bell hit ten points in a 17-0 tear to cut the hosts’ lead to one with three first half minutes remaining.
That run included a couple of technical free throws as Hodges picked up an infringement for complaining about a no-call as he drove to the basket and was then ejected for cursing – apparently to himself – at the subsequent foul shot.
New signing Daniel Wagener broke the run at the foul line and, after the visitors had taken a one point lead, the German big man scored to send his side into the locker room 39-38 ahead.
Jonathan Barnes put Magic back ahead with the first shot of the second half but that proved to be the final time they were ahead as Newman hit a triple and Duru got back-to-back scores.
Sandiford also scored from downtown to give his side a 51-46 lead midway through the third period, and five straight Newman points sent his side ino the final break with a 65-57 lead.
Newman and Wood both hit threes to take the Big Cats’ lead out to double digits early in the fourth period,
Sandiford ensured it was still a ten point game as it headed into the final fiive minutes, and although three points from Ryan Lewis helped halve that lead with 80 seconds on the clock, scores from Duru and Rory Winter wrapped it up for Leopards.