LSBU Brixton Topcats 68-64 Ipswich Basketball
Top Scorers: Umekwe 23, Tahraoui 17 & Branch 14
The Senior Men Topcats start 2014 with a great road win versus Ipswich with a depleted squad.
Fresh from the Xmas break Topcats are on the road for the whole of January as a new floor is fitted to their home venue at Brixton Recreation – first stop Ipswich! Topcats made the trip with only 7 players through injury and extended holidays against Ipswich’s full compliment of 12 players.
Ipswich started the game with a three from Tom Sadler, with Topcats first basket coming inside from Rabah Tahraoui, as the first quarter turned into a nip and tuck affair with the Topcats side just edging it 17-16, as Uche Umekwe hit the last 6 points of the period. The second quarter went to the home team as they found their rhythm and started to score their outside shots, with ex-topcat Aaron Moseley having a big quarter. Topcats on the other hand looked for their inside game against the bigger team and were rewarded with 11 foul shots, unfortunately they could only convert 4 as they trailed at the half 39-31.
The third quarter started with Ipswich hitting the first 6 points of the period with Moseley continuing where he left off, as the lead extended to 14 points. Topcats found their scoring touch through Aaron Branch and Tahraoui as they hit a combined 8 unanswered points. Brixton began to turn up their defensive pressure, forcing turnovers and creating easy fast break points. Umekwe hit 5 points in a row and Branch finished the quarter with the last 4 points as the Topcats won the period 17-12 to reduce the gap to just three with the score at 51-48.
The final period was a tense affair as Topcats surged into the lead 56-54 through baskets from Umekwe, Branch and Tahraoui. But Topcats could not break away to seal the win. Big baskets down the stretch from Branch and Umekwe kept Topcat noses in front, and with the score at 66-64 in Brixton’s favour and with only 9 seconds left Tahraoui was fouled and sent to the line to shoot two. He promptly made both to make it a two possession game and Ipswich failed to convert on their last attempt at the basket to leave the Topcats victorious 68-64, winning the final period 20-13. Head Coach James Markham was happy with his team’s defence:
“Our second half defence was the key to that win. We closed down their outside shooting and defended their bigs very well.”
Topcats head north to Unbeaten Huddersfield next weekend for a top of the table clash.