Report: Bristol Flyers 83-84 London City Royals
Friday, April 26th 2019
Bristol Flyers' BBL play-off hopes ended in cruel fashion against the visiting London City Royals.
Flyers took the lead with 90 seconds to play and a tense finish ensued. Wes Washpun responded with a huge three for the visitors and London City survived a frantic final possession as Coach K's men fell short.
In a game where neither side led by double figures, there were some big performances from Jalan McCloud (24 points) and Fred Thomas (21 points), but ultimately, Flyers could not take the play-off race into the last day of the season.
Royals got off to a blistering start as Ashley Hamilton sank a three-pointer and Matthew Bryan-Amaning followed up with back to back scores in the paint. Flyers showed their resilience to bounce back from the 7-0 run. McCloud opened the scoring for the home team, draining a triple of his own. Tevin Falzon broke through Royals’ defence for a lay before McCloud hustled to collect his own miss and recycle the ball to Thomas who spashed a three.
A second three for Thomas cut into the margin. MBA was the offensive driver for Royals, stunning the resurgent Flyers with a three-pointer of his own to reach 11 personal points in the opening period.
Flyers found form on the fast break with Justin Gray lobbing the ball to a soaring Thomas for a two-handed dunk. A McCloud lay-up followed to finish a 7-0 run for the Flyers, undoing much of the damage of the slow start. Neighbour closed out the quarter with more paint scoring, leaving Royals up 21-24.
Thomas kept the hot hand through the break and shot another three to tie the game back up. A steal and fast break score for Royals seemed to signal a shift in control of the game.
Panos Mayindombe turned the corner and drove to the basket for a high arcing lay-up to once again tie the game. Gray got to the foul line and gave Flyers their first lead of the evening.
Multiple missed free throws for London City gave Flyers an opportunity. Gray got to the line and converted both of his foul shots to give Bristol their biggest lead of the game. But Royals were able to claw back more points at the line. The final play of the half saw London City snatch a turnover to make it 45-44 at half-time.
Wes Washpun showed off his bounce with a one handed dunk over the outstretched arm of Edozie. With momentum against the Flyers, Gray was able to get back to the line again to stem the bleeding.
Mayindombe absorbed pressure defence and used his handles to bypass Dusha for another driving lay-up. Dusha redeemed himself with a three-pointer, but Gray closed out the quarter with a strong drive to the basket after a well timed pass from Mayindombe. Flyers finished the third still achingly-close at 63-64.
A 7-2 run from Royals opened the fourth, this time led by Sam Toluwase who had two baskets and a steal in the sequence. Edozie found Gray under the basket for a reverse lay-up before Washpun went coast-to-coast with a burst of speed for an easy score in response.
A pair of offensive fouls followed for Flyers, but they were able to get stops on the defensive end to prevent the game escaping them. A Fred Thomas steal set-up McCloud for a transition three to tie the game up at 75.
McCloud put Bristol back in front with under two minutes remaining, breaking down the London defence off the dribble and hitting a lay-up. Washpun spotted up for a dagger three from the corner to put his team back on top.
With the clock against them, the Flyers put together out one more defensive stop, to give Bristol an opportunity to win the game with 10 seconds to play.
Falzon came up with the loose ball and drove in for a floating lay-up that did not fall. A last ditch tip-in attempt from Edozie was not meant to be, and Flyers lost out 83-84 in heartbreaking fashion.
The bitter nature of the loss reinforces the context of the result, which sees Flyers eliminated from play-off contention.
Images courtesy of JMPUK.