Bury St. Edmunds Basketball Club’s Senior Men’s National League side travelled to face University of Hertfordshire Storm, as they looked to bounce-back from a loss against league-leading ARU Rhinos against another of the division’s playoff-chasing teams.
The Suffolk side started strongly, with quick scores from Mo Adepoju and Billy Smith forcing a Storm timeout within 90 seconds of the game’s opening tip, following the timeout, the hosts clicked into gear, with a 10-2 run, before Bulldogs tied it up through Mike Coumas and Smith. Storm further took the initiative in the qyarter, with a 12-3 run in which the Bulldogs struggled to get good quality shooting opportunities, before veteran forward Greg Richards hit a trio of threes in the closing minute of the quarter, to end the first down 25-22.
Whilst Freddie Barber and Edga Lomsargis got on the scoreboard to start the second quarter, momentum was very much with the home side, as they held the Bulldogs to only two field goals in the opening five minutes of the quarter, before Richards and Adepoju brought it all the way back to a one score game. Another strong defensive series from Storm left the Bulldogs withonly one field goal in the closing four minutes though, as they trailed by ten at the half.
A back-and-forth second half swung firmly to the hosts in the fourth quarter, as a flurry of whistles saw the Bulldogs lose a couple of key players, whilst Herts were firmly positioned at the foul line from the fourth minute of the quarter – with the hosts attempting more free-throws in the final seven minutes of the game than the Suffolk side achieved in all four quarters. Storm stretched the lead to 24 points at the midway in the fourth, before Lomsaris, Barber and Coumas led a 7-1 run to close the game with a better defensive showing, but an 86-70 loss.
Leading scorers for the Bulldogs were Adepoju (17), Smith & Richards (13 each).
Following the game, Coach Arron MacDonald had this to say:
“It was a frustrating game for us in a lot of ways, and I feel like we allowed our frustrations to get the better of us at times. The lads felt that we weren’t being allowed to play defence with the levels of physicality we’re accustomed to in Senior Basketball, and were getting called for tippy-tappy fouls, while Storm were able to play much more aggressively without hearing that constant ‘chirp’ from the refs. It was particularly frustrating for Jonathan Bourne – as we felt we were the better team when he was on the floor, but managed to get himself fouled out in a blink of an eye.
With all of that said, this was a 16 point loss against a strong side, many of whom suited-up in the Division 1 game which followed, and it really came down to the fact that they made two more runs than we did, we gave up too many opportunities for them to extend possessions, and they finished around the rim better than us.
The other thing that was really clear to me was that we’re still not all the way there in terms of our reads, recognising mis-matches and moving the ball – and I think that’s just that we still haven’t brought it all together as a team yet. It’s frustrating that we’re without a number of important players for us, again, but we’re more than halfway through our games, and two-thirds way through the season – and we’ve never been at full strength. So, either we accept that, and it’s ‘next man up’, or we correct it. I know we’ve got a talented group of players – I just hope we get the opportunity to see them all together at some point this season.”
Up next for the 3-5 Bulldogs is Northamptonshire Titans II at home, on Saturday 12th February. Tip-off is 16:45.