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Essex Leopards face big weekend in league and cup

PUBLISHED: 09:00 27 October 2017

Essex Leopards coach Tom Baker talks to his players

Essex Leopards coach Tom Baker talks to his players

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Levett Essex Leopards face a big weekend of action as they aim to continue their winning runs in both the league and National Cup.

The Big Cats will look for their sixth straight win when they travel to Sussex on Saturday where they will face a Bears side who have won two of their first three league games.

Those wins included a stormy encounter against Westminster Warriors this weekend in a game which saw a brawl result in 11 players being ejected and the visitors playing 23 of the 40 minutes with just four players.

With the side containing several former Worthing Thunder players, Leopards will have a good idea of what they’re facing against a Bears side who have already gone out of both the Patrons and National Cups.

Sunday’s cup game at Harlow Leisurezone tips-off at 4.45pm, and sees Leopards facing a Thames Valley side who started the season as favourites to win Division Two.

They lived up to that hype with two big wins in the Patrons Cup as well as progressing in the National Cup but have lost their opening two home league games.

Led by British-American forward Martelle McLemore’s 26 points they bounced back with an 87-77 victory at London Greenhouse Pioneers on Sunday.

The winner of Sunday’s tie has a home quarter-final against either Kent Crusaders or Hemel Storm.

Leopards go into the weekend on the back of hammering London Westside 104-64 at the Brentwood Centre on Sunday.

It was the third straight home game the Big Cats had reached double figures, and they have poured in a massive 350 points during those three games.

Since their defeat against Nottingham Hoods in the opening Patrons Cup game, Thomas Baker’s side have chalked up five straight victories and are now one of only two undefeated sides in Division Two.

Recent signing John Shodipo led the way for the Big Cats with 16 points, seven assists, six steals and three minutes in just 17 minutes of action.

Captain Dougie Bennett also finished with 16 points, while Will Ashby added 15 points. Jamie Hayes had seven rebounds to go with his 13 points while youngster Wes Moore had 11 points in under 14 minutes, converting all four of his field goal attempts.

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