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Report: Bristol Flyers 55-66 Leicester Riders

Despite a feiry return for Cardell McFarland, the Bristol Flyers were unable to avoid defeat to the visiting Leciester Riders 55-66.

The game opened up with both teams working hard on defence, not giving up any easy points. Danish international Matthias Seilund scored ten first quarter points on 100% shooting to give Flyers an early 10-2 lead. Bristol's solid defence continued throughout the first quarter, countering Riders' ball movement with quick feet and active hands. Leicester found themselves down by 11, and quickly slowed the game down, grinding their way back. Subsequently, Flyers stopped taking care of the ball, committing three straight turnovers resulting in Leicester scores. Bristol saw their lead evaporate, trailing after the first 14-17. 

As the second quarter began, it was clear that Leicester wanted to establish their own hard-nosed defence. The visitors deployed an almost full court press, to entice Flyers into committing more turnovers. Bristol moved the ball around with meticulous care, finding Roy Owen for a 17 foot jump shot at the top of the key. The game was still in reach heading into the break 33-40. 

Flyers' defensive intensity grew in the third quarter, turning away Riders' first two possessions and forcing them into a shot clock violation. Leicester would counter, trying to double team McFarland. Splitting the defence, McFarland dished the ball inside to Edozie for the two-handed slam. Both teams traded baskets as the final quarter approached, the score 44-50.

After a strong finish to the third, Edozie scored an ‘and-1’ hook-shot to pull Flyers within four points at the start of the fourth quarter. He came back strong in the next possession, getting fouled and hitting one of two from the line. Leicester got multiple trips to the line, shooting 22 free throws on the night, compared to Bristol's ten. Gruis again caused problems with a converted ‘and-1’ and an open dunk, stretching Riders’ lead to 12. Flyers had competed hard for four quarters, but it would not be enough. The visitors methodically picked apart the defence in the final moments of the game, pulling away to win 55-66. 

Click here to view the full box score.

Report by Luke Bennett.