Report: Plymouth Raiders 94-91 Bristol Flyers (OT)
Sunday, April 21st 2019
Flyers showed toughness and grit, but ultimately fell short in an overtime thriller against Plymouth Raiders.
Fred Thomas led all scorers with 27 points and added 12 rebounds to complete a double-double. Jalan McCloud had a great stat line of 20 points, five assists, four steals and three rebounds.
Flyers fell behind early with Donte Nicholas breaking through the defence for a lay-up on the first possession. Flyers quickly levelled the score with Thomas finding Justin Gray for points in the paint and then attacking the offensive glass for a putback score.
Joonas Jarvelainen was a handful in the early going, drawing fouls and driving to the basket. Flyers took their first lead with a pair of threes from Thomas and McCloud. Tevin Falzon found the key to unlock Raiders’ zone defence, establishing position at the free throw line and driving past the defender for an easy score.
A McCloud drive and finish gave Flyers an early double digit lead. Turnovers had already started to become an issue for Coach K’s men, allowing the Raiders to get out and run. Josh Wilcher finished the quarter with a driving lay-up to tighten the score to 20-24.
With the Flyers’ lead dwindling, back-to-back scores by Falzon and McCloud forced a Raiders time out. A huge three-pointer from Fred Thomas followed and Flyers looked to be taking control of the game. Raiders rose to the challenge and a strong final minute saw them once again eat into the lead to make the half-time score 36-43.
Flyers momentum was disrupted as Jarvelainen turned away a Marcus Delpeche dunk, but Thomas kept up his efficient scoring output with another trip to the foul line. With Nicholas drawing multiple fouls, Flyers saw their lead disappearing. Coach Kapoulas took a time out when a dagger three from Wilcher cut the margin to just two points.
Back-to-back scores for Nicholas put Raiders back in front and Flyers were once again struggling to hold onto the ball. McCloud steadied the ship with a pair of free throws, before another turnover resulted in a fast break score for Jarvelainen. Gray gave Bristol a one point lead with a three-pointer. The third quarter finished with the score 62-63.
Physical play continued into the fourth, with both teams getting to the line early and often. Delpeche was able to throw down a hammer dunk over Jarvelainen, avenging his earlier block.
Raiders went on to complete an 8-0 run to retake the lead. With the clock becoming a factor, McCloud made an incisive drive to the basket for a lay-up. Thomas hit another crucial three-pointer and Gray followed with a three point play the hard way to keep the score close heading into the last two minutes.
Flyers showed great composure down the stretch with Gray, Thomas and McCloud all getting to the line and making all of their foul shots count to tie the game back up and force overtime.
With the toll of the closely contested game showing on both sides, Flyers were unable to make a much-needed late basket. A foul to regain possession allowed Nicholas two more free throws to extend the lead to 94-91 and ultimately claim the game.
Images courtesy of JMPUK.