Report: Bristol Flyers 85-83 Glasgow Rocks
Saturday, October 6th 2018
Bristol Flyers completed their double-winning weekend with a hard-fought victory over the Glasgow Rocks.
With Jalan McCloud sidelined through injury, Lewis Champion stepped into the starting line-up and led the team with an efficient 18 points on 71.4% shooting from the field. Fred Thomas had a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds, whilst Tevin Falzon made a big contribution off the bench with 13 points, ten rebounds and five assists.
Justin Gray drew first blood with his trademark crossover and mid-range jump shot to give Flyers the early lead. Rocks answered with characteristic plays of their own, first feeding Ali Fraser in the post for a hook shot and then with GB International Gareth Murray splashing a three pointer.
Murray was hard to contain early with a quick eight points in the first four minutes. A steal by Daniel Edozie and a Falzon lay-up put Flyers back in the lead but Rocks again looked to Fraser in the post and he was able to make a three point play to put the visitors ahead once again.
Flyers responded with a 6-0 run led by their Captain and forced a Rocks timeout. The defensive adjustments were initially unsuccessful as Falzon found Thomas in the paint for a lay-up. But Rocks answered with scoring from their new faces Bo Ziegler and Bouna Ndiaye. Flyers closed out the quarter strong with Chris Taylor grabbing an offensive rebound and laying the ball back in to put the Flyers ahead 21-18.
Marcus Delpeche continued the theme, laying back in a missed shot early in the second quarter, but was forced to rest early as he picked up a second foul. Rocks and GB Captain Kieron Achara was the beneficiary and he completed a three point play. Falzon made the most of the opportunity and was key in keeping Flyers just ahead of the Rocks - he hit a three, made it to the line and assisted Taylor on a triple.
Champion continued to push the tempo, drawing a further foul and confidently firing a pull-up jumper from just inside the arc. Edozie continued to lead with defence, stealing a stray pass, allowing Champion to set up Thomas for a three. Coach Wood needed another time out to settle the Rocks. Murray came out firing, hitting another three and the Rocks were able to force multiple turnovers in the run up to half time to keep it close at 40-35.
Delpeche returned after his extended rest and got straight back to work. He bagged four points in the paint in the opening minutes of the second half to keep Flyers just ahead. Gray was fouled and dished out punishment with a baseline out of bounds play allowing him to throw an alley oop pass to Thomas.
Rocks point guard Pryor wrested control of the game with aggressive drives into the paint prompting Coach Kapoulas to call time out and return Champion to the floor for a more favourable match-up. Champion answered with a driving layup of his own but Flyers were unable to regain the momentum and Rocks snatched back the lead. Jordan Nicholls made a huge play to close out the period, driving through traffic and pulling up outside the arc to make a three pointer and reclaim the lead 58-57.
Flyers upped their defensive intensity with both Edozie and Gray rejecting Rocks around the rim. Edozie followed with a strong finish through a foul, making the free throw to extend the lead to six. Nicholls cooled off and a couple of wayward shots allowed Rocks to get out and run for easy scores to level the game.
Rocks seemed to have seized control as Achara made a huge three to retake the lead. Gray managed to pull the momentum back drawing a foul on a three point attempt. He was only able to convert one of the trio of free throws but tenaciously chased down the rebound on the final miss to assist Champion on a three.
Another Edozie block thwarted a lay-up attempt from Murray to allow the Flyers run to continue. Gray stayed active on the offensive glass, again making Champion the beneficiary, this time for a two pointer to edge ahead again.
Gray remained the playmaker next time down the floor, finding Edozie for a lay-up and triggering a Rocks time out. On the play Coach Wood drew up Edozie rose straight up and blocked Fraser’s shot. Flyers were again able to score second chance points with Falzon ripping down a rebound and making it to the foul line.
Gray took his turn to swat away a Rocks shot and Coach Wood called another time out to try to devise a way through the Flyers determined defence. Pryor was able to get to the line to keep it close but time was becoming the Rocks enemy with under two minutes remaining.
Champion answered with a lay-up but the fouled Pryor on a three point attempt allowing him to bring the Flyers lead down to just two points with the penalty shots. After the teams exchanging misses on the next two possessions Gray found himself stuck at the elbow having used his dribble. A well timed cut from Thomas gave Gray a passing option and he got the ball over to his team mate.
Thomas skilfully absorbed a foul from his defender and span the ball off the backboard for a reverse layup. He sank the free throw to complete the crucial three point play. Rocks called their final timeout but narrowly missed the three pointer they sorely needed.
Edozie grabbed the rebound and drew a foul. He was greeted at the free throw line by roars of approval from the Flyers fans and he drained both foul shots to put the game out of reach. Rocks continued to compete until the end and brought the game back to 85-83 before running out of time.