London United 95-79 Ipswich Basketball
NBL Division II
Alec Reed Academy, London
An undermanned Ipswich Basketball let an early second half lead slide as they lost to London United for the second successive weekend on Sunday.
Having endured an overtime loss in last week’s matchup at Copleston Sports Centre, John Ellis’ side entered the return fixture looking for some payback, and started strongly behind Cameron Hawes’ early shooting and scores from Ethan Price and Ben Winter.
London recovered to a one-point lead after the first quarter, and quickly broke out to a double-figure lead midway through the third quarter. But Price continued to produce at the other end, and a Veron Eze dunk over Daniel Szatkowski began a run that brought Ipswich back to within six at the half-time buzzer.
Hawes and Eze connected early in the third and Ipswich briefly regained the lead when Winter hit a deep three over Yonathan Napoleon. The rest of the quarter was a back-and-forth affair but the hosts had edged ahead by four by the end of the period.
Ipswich struggled to maintain their offensive fluidity in the fourth quarter, and missed box-outs at the other end cost the Suffolk side dearly as United padded the gap to double-digits three minutes into the final quarter. Rabi Rai hit a three and Price followed up with an impressive score in the post to bring Ipswich back within seven, but that would be as close as they got.
Napoleon buried some crucial late scores, including a wild running three-pointer to beat the shot clock, as United built a comfortable lead on which to end the game.
Napoleon finished with game highs of 32 points and 17 rebounds for the hosts. Price racked up 25 points and 11 rebounds for Ipswich, backed up by 16 from Winter and 14 from Hawes.
“Obviously, we’re really disappointed to have been right in the game and let it slide,” said Ellis.
“We were hanging with them for thirty minutes, and just couldn’t get over the line.”
This weekend sees Ipswich in their final home action of the year, as Westminster Warriors visit Copleston for a 5.30pm tip-off on Saturday 2 March.