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Essex Leopards lose in Leicester

PUBLISHED: 09:00 05 December 2016

Mike Martin attacks the basket for Essex Leopards

Mike Martin attacks the basket for Essex Leopards

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Big Cats brought back down to earth by Warriors

Dougie Bennett attacks the basket for Essex Leopards (pic Paul Phillips)Dougie Bennett attacks the basket for Essex Leopards (pic Paul Phillips)

After three straight wins with their new-look line-up, the Levett Essex Leopards were brought back to earth on Saturday as they went down 85-71 at Leicester.

To complete a miserable day for the Big Cats, they had former GB guard Perry Lawson ejected for throwing the ball at Warriors’ Carl Pearson.

The visitors never recovered from a disappointing start as they trailed 15-6 after six minutes - with Darrell Bethune having scored four of those points against his old team - and they went into the first break trailing 24-13.

That deficit grew to as many as 18 early in the second period, before Mike Martin sparked a comeback to reduce the margin to 40-32.

But Warriors finished the half strongly to lead 48-37 at half-time and the visitors failed to trouble the scorers in the first six minutes of the second half.

Leicester effectively wrapped the game up at 56-37, before AJ Roberts ended the Leopards drought, but the visitors trailed 62-45 at the final break and never looked likely to stage a comeback in the fourth period.

Martin led the way for the visitors with another massive double-double, finishing with 16 points and as many rebounds, while Roberts finished with 16 points, six assists and seven assists.

Dougie Bennett came off the bench to hit four of his seven three-point attempts on the way to a 15-point game, with Bethune adding 11 points.

“We lacked intensity” admitted coach Steve Ogunjimi. “We had it in spurts, but you can’t let a team like Leicester start well, and not following the game-plan we worked on in practice really hurt us.”

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