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Report: Bristol Flyers 67-73 Surrey Scorchers

Despite a balanced offence that saw four Flyers score double figures, Bristol fell to another defeat, against the visiting Surrey Scorchers, 67-73.

Flyers started with the opening possession, but turned to ball over giving away an easy transition lay-up for the visitors. Bristol retaliated with a nifty feed and a Brandon Boggs lay-up to tie the score in the early goings. 

Hameed Ali's fingerprints were all over the start of the first. On his way to seven points and four assists in the opening ten minutes; he converted an And-1; hit nothing but net on a driving circus shot off the glass and gave a no-look pass on an assist to Mike Vigor to finish a fast-break.

Flyers continued to dominate the first period as Scorchers looked to stop the home team's run but they were denied by a monster block from Daniel Edozie, which resulted in a 24-second shot clock violation. 

Scorchers' Will Neighbour stopped the run with a three-pointer but only momentarily as Bristol came flying back with another Boggs' two-pointer and an Ali slashing drive for two more points.

Flyers' offence was clicking as they shot 57% from the field for the quarter, taking a 20-14 lead into the second period.

Bristol began the second with a steal and a Leslie Smith slam dunk to keep their hold on the contest. Scorchers struggled and by the midway of the half they were shooting under 35% for the game. Though Flyers failed to really take advantage of the visitors' offensive struggles. After a hot shooting start, the home team cooled down and the game stayed within single digits. 

Flyers stayed patient, used the shot clock and moved the ball to find open shots. Boggs hitting a long three-pointer at the end of the shot clock and slashing through the defence for a ferocious dunk helped to maintain Bristol's lead.

But Surrey recognised their advantage in the paint and pounded the ball into the post for 20 inside points for the half. Bristol tried to defend tenaciously but gave away a few fouls resulting in free throws. Surrey secured nine first-half free throws to help turn the tide and in the closing moments of the first half Scorchers took a one point lead, 30-31.

The half time break did not slow Surrey down as Quincy Taylor was able to dribble right into Flyers' defence and dump it for an easy assist. Taylor was not finished as he carved up Bristol again for a short jump-shot in the lane. Scorchers then came up with a stop on the defensive end and Tayo Ogedengbe was fouled on a fast-break fingeroll.

Vigor stopped the bleeding from a nice feed by Edozie for a lay-up inside. In an attempt to the wrestle the momentum from the visitors, Flyers turned it up defensively, holding Scorchers to a 24-second violation. However, their defensive intensity got them into foul trouble as they stacked up a quick five fouls. With the Flyers in the penalty for the majority of the third Surrey could be as aggressive as they wanted on offence and built a double digit lead. 

Flyers were in trouble both defensively and offensively. Scorchers deployed a trap defence, harassing Bristol's ball handlers and coming up with turnovers.

But as the final quarter beckoned, Lovell Cook started to heat up. Flyers' closed the deficit behind a Cook two-pointer in traffic followed by a long three-pointer from beyond the arc and finished off with a lay-up deep in the paint. The short spurt of offence fuelled Bristol's comeback and brought them right back in the game. 

Flyers went straight at the Scorchers' interior defence with Smith quickly dumping the ball to Vigor for two. Smith followed this with a three-pointer from the top of the three point line, bringing Bristol within one. After making a getting a stop on the defensive end, Boggs challenged the visitors' front line drawing a foul, converting at the line for the lead. 

Bristol were back in the lead and the crowd were back in the game, erupting at ever home team bucket. Suddenly it was Surrey's turn to pick up fouls as they gave up five fouls with more than six minutes remaining in the fourth. Scorchers weathered the storm and maintained a one point lead heading into the final three minutes of regulation.

As the final period entered its waning moments Scorchers secured three straight offensive rebounds, allowing multiple attempts from deep. In a backbreaking sequence, Surrey found the net on two straight possessions giving them a late seven point lead and effectively the game. Despite one last push from Flyers, the visitors closed out the game beating the home side 67-73.

Nuffield Health Player Of The Game - Hameed Ali

Report written by Luke Bennett

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