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Basketball: Leopards looking to tame Dragons

PUBLISHED: 15:30 16 January 2020

Action from the match between Leopards and Loughborough Riders (pic Nathan Cracknell)

Action from the match between Leopards and Loughborough Riders (pic Nathan Cracknell)

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Essex & Herts Leopards continue their fight for Division One survival against Bradford Dragons on Saturday (5.45pm).

The Yorkshire club will arrive at Oaklands College in eighth place, with six wins from 13 games, as Leopards look to avenge an 86-77 loss in their earler meeting in October.

Chris Mellor's Dragons defeated Division Two North leaders Newcastle University 97-88 in the National Cup, before losing 87-77 at home against the all-conquering Solent Kestrels last weekend.

Leopards will be hoping for a repeat of last season's results between the teams as they won 91-79 at home but went down 100-85 on the road.

The game will also see Leopards up against point guard Albert Margai who helped them win the Division One title in 2015.

Leopards failed to build on a good start on Saturday as they went down 79-53 against Loughborough Riders at Oaklands.

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Four straight Prince Lartey points had given the Big Cats a 13-12 lead after six minutes but the visitors rattled off 12 straight points to take control and never trailed again.

The home side trailed 23-14 at the first break and despite treys from James Cummings and Ray Akpofure went into the locker room 40-25 down as Riders scored the final seven points of the half.

Another triple from Cummings followed by one from captain Chuck Duru made it a 10-point game with six third-period minutes gone, but former Leicester player Harrison Gamble answered from downtown to launch a 9-1 run from the visitors as they went into the final break with a 59-39 lead.

Jerelle Okoro opened the fourth period scoring but Jonas Dieterich hit a trey and the lead never dipped below 20 again as Riders closed out the win.

Cummings led Leopards' scoring for the first time with 12 points, but Lartey was the only other Big Cat in double figures with 11 points and six rebounds.

Duru and Okoro each scored nine points with the latter adding six boards in a game where the home side were out-rebounded 64-41.

A balanced Riders offence was led by 16 points and five rebounds from Gamble, with Dieterich adding 10 points and five boards as Jordan Santiago also had 10 points.

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