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Leopards face big weekend

PUBLISHED: 11:00 15 November 2013

Marvin Isebor of the Essex Leopards in action

Marvin Isebor of the Essex Leopards in action

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Leopards face their biggest weekend of the season as they try to extend their five-game winning streak.

The Big Cats host Newham Neptunes at the Brentwood Centre this evening at 7.30pm, before travelling to Loughborough Student Riders in the National Cup quarter-final on Sunday.

The visit of Neptunes will see a clash of two sides with unbeaten records in the EBL Division One.

The London side are joint top of the table with a 4-0 record and have won all 12 of their games, in a successful start to life in the top flight.

Sunday’s trip to Loughborough will see Leopards face a side who are second in Division Two, having won four of their first six games.

After beating Division Four side Sporting Club Albion in the first round, Riders have wins against fellow Second Division sides – Mansfield Giants and Ipswich – on the way to the quarter-finals.

National Cup rules mean that coach Robert Youngblood will be forced to sit out one of his club’s two Americans, so either Howard Crawford or Kris Clark will miss the game.

Youngblood knows his side face a tough weekend, saying: “It’s a massive couple of games for us. We’re watched Newham and we know they have some quality players, but we won’t taking Loughborough lightly, either.”

Leopards made it five wins on the bounce as they won 78-60 at Leicester Warriors on Saturday afternoon.

A strong third period proved to be the key for Robert Youngblood’s side as they improved their league record to 3-0.

Crawford led the way for the Big Cats with 22 points, while Carl Josey, Ronnie Baker and Marvin Isebor each added 10 points in a balanced offensive display from the visitors.

The Big Cats led 20-17 at the first break and extended that lead to 36-29 going into the locker room at half time.

But it was the third quarter where the win was sealed, as the Warriors were outscored 26-14, which included a huge dunk from Isebor as the visitors took a 62-43 lead into the final break.

And although Leicester won the fourth period 17-16, it was too late to prevent their 11th straight loss.

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