Tough start for Men as Leopards spot opportunity

Cameron Hawes led the way for Ipswich with 18 points

Ipswich Basketball 58-87 Essex Leopards
Patrons’ Cup Group Stage
Copleston Sports Centre

Ipswich Basketball suffered a heavy home defeat against National Basketball League Division II newcomers Essex Leopards on Saturday.

Cameron Hawes had 18 points and Colin Dockrell added 15 points and nine rebounds for the hosts, but a sub-par shooting performance was largely responsible for John Ellis’ side being unable to keep up with their experienced visitors.

With Hawes hitting a three-pointer at the end of the first quarter, Ipswich took a 16-13 lead into the start of the second, but would score only ten points in the next ten minutes as Essex established control over the tempo of the game and built a steady 38-26 lead by half-time.

Missing two of their key performers from last week’s thriller against USA Select, Ipswich were flat in the second half and the visitors, relegated from NBL Division I last season, had enough to get comfortably over the line as they found a deadly stroke from three-point range in the second half from a number of sources.

There were positives for the Suffolk side, including the performance of veteran centre Tendai Simbai off the bench, but collectively the team struggled offensively.

“That’s not an acceptable performance on any level, and both the coaching staff and playing staff understand that,” said Ellis.

“We were lackadaisical with the ball, committing way too many turnovers early, and we submitted physically to a side that came here with great energy and determination to shut us down from the start.

“I appreciate that we have a lot of new faces around the team but that level of effort cannot be acceptable.

“We have a chance now to go to another strong side, Nottingham Hoods, next week and give a better account of ourselves.”

Ipswich will hope to have American forward Quan Gill available for that match-up after visa complications ruled him out of the Essex clash.

Ellis’ side are in cup action twice next weekend, playing their other Patrons Cup game at Nottingham on Saturday 30th September and travelling to Norfolk Titans in the National Cup on Sunday 1st October. The team’s next home fixture is against Liverpool on Saturday 14th October.