Leopards shoot down Rockets

Leopards completed a season sweep over old rivals Reading Rockets as they moved up to sixth place in Division One with a comfortable 93-78 win at Essex Sports Arena, on Sunday.
The Big Cats blew the game open in a strong second period, outscoring the visitors 25-14 to take control, and they never looked back as they wrapped up their tenth league win of the campaign.
Asante Sandiford missed out on a rare triple-double by a single assist, with 13 rebounds and 29 points – 22 of which came in the first half.
Sam Newman dished out another eight assists to go with his 16 points, while Lee Hodges and Findlay Wood each had eight rebounds to go with 15 and ten points respectively.
The visitors suffered foul trouble all afternoon, finishing with only four players on the court for the final 35 seconds after seeing five players foul trouble. British guard Sydney Donaldson led the Rockets with 19 points while American AJ Carr added 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Scores from Sandiford and Hodges saw Leopards take an early lead, but the first quarter proved to be tight, and despite a pair of Chuck Duru three-pointers the visitors went into the first break with a 27-25 lead.
That proved to be as good as it got for the visiting side as Wood opened the second period with back-to-back treys, and the Big Cats held the lead for the rest of the game.
Sandiford scored nine of the hosts’ points in the quarter while Hodges started and ended the 5-0 run which took the Big Cats into the locker room with a 48-39 lead.
That run was extended to 9-0 as Wood and Duru added to the lead at the start of the second half and, although Rockets cut the lead to nine, Newman hit five points in a quick-fire 13-0 run to make it a 22-point game.
Adrian Nosa Castillo hit six straight points to close the period and cut Leopards’ lead to 73-60 at the final break.
Hodges broke the 8-0 Reading run before the visitors cut the lead to 75-64 with seven minutes remaining but six unanswered points ended the game as a contest, and Leopards spent most of the remaining time at the foul line as they wrapped up the victory.