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Report: Bristol Flyers 74-69 USA Select

A new-look Bristol Flyers side started their season with a 74-69 victory over USA Select in a pre-season exhibition game at the SGS WISE Arena.

Although exhibition in name, both teams came firing out of the gate from the opening tip, with Flyers and USA trading baskets in the early stages.

Quick scores from debuting Flyers' Leslee Smith on his way to 11 first-quarter points and Lovell Cook were answered by two long jump-shots from USA's Austin Steed and a three-pointer by Larry Thomas. 

As the quarter continued, the USA struggled to keep up with Flyers. The visitors were guilty of settling for early shots and turning the ball over. This allowed Bristol to get into the open court, resulting in multiple fast-break scores, including a breakaway slam-dunk from Brandon Boggs.

The new signing again found the bucket, by slicing his way through the defence for the finger roll. Bristol were building a comfortable lead, topped off by a full court driving layup from Roy Owen, to make it 29-17 at the break.

USA came back into the game chipping away at Bristol's lead, with sharp ball movement, finding open teammates for easy layups inside. USA select found a way to ground Flyers' offence, with the home side going three straight possessions without a score.

Hameed Ali enabled Bristol to add to the lead by scoring three consecutive shots ; two free throws after picking the pocket of the USA point guard; a deep three-pointer and a converted free throw on a clear path foul.

USA countered the onslaught with two straight three-pointers and a quick lay up giving them a one point half time lead 40-41.

After the intense first half, the third quarter started slowly, seeing Bristol take the lead back in the initial three minutes.

Flyers turned it up defensively, forcing back to back turnovers that led to a Daniel Edozie two-handed slam dunk. Edozie, again had his fingerprints on another possession, turning defence into offence. Forcing a USA miss, Edozie recovered the ball and found Cook on a full court assist.

USA Select were down, but not out. Trailing by ten late in the third quarter, USA Select implemented a full court press. Suffocating Bristol's ball movement, the Americans kept getting the ball back before Flyers defence could set. The visitors scored two straight three-pointers, which in turn opened the lanes for lay-ups. As the clock closed in on the fourth quarter, Flyers had given up the lead again, trailing 55-57.

The final quarter began and the USA's strategy was clear, high pressure, fast moving defence. Though the Americans' defence was tough, Bristol was ready. Flyers grabbed the lead back with sharp ball movement, finding space for open looks.

USA continued to tighten up defensively. Select's Larry Thomas came up with the steal and a fast-break slam dunk to keep the game close. Flyers had struggled throughout the game with USA Select's full court press, but they started to send the ball long and beating the defence up the floor. Bristol enjoyed some success against the visitors' defence, pushing their lead to nine points.

Select started letting it fly from outside in desperation, attempting multiple three-pointers to get back into the game. Flyers managed to hold the lead this time, closing the game out 74-69.