Men taste defeat at home, lose to Birmingham

Ipswich Basketball 55-66 Team Birmingham Elite
National Basketball League Division II
Copleston Sports Centre

Off the back of two straight wins and strong offensive performances, Ipswich were brought back to earth by a physical and focused Team Birmingham Elite at Copleston on Saturday.

After shooting 44% from long range and making 28 three-pointers in the last two games, Ipswich suffered a torrid first half in which they shot less than 20% from the field and ground their way to 19 first half points.

By half time, only Ryan Wilson and Jed Robinson had scored more than one basket.

Birmingham had come prepared for a physical contest and dominated Ipswich’s smaller lineup with sharper offensive ball movement.

Ipswich began the second half with forward Femi Ariyo inserted into the starting line-up, and the adjustment gave the hosts a lift with Birmingham’s offense facing a different defence and Rabi Rai beginning to connect at the other end.

The improved performance continued through a low-scoring second half in which the visitors were held to 28 points.

Ipswich made two runs behind Rai’s tenacious defense in the second quarter, and cut the gap to 56-51 with around two and a half minutes to go in the final period. But Coach John Ellis’ side came up empty on their next possession, and then had to resort to fouling to stop the clock.

As a result, Birmingham padded their lead to 11 points by the final buzzer.

“Our first half performance today was the worst we have played this year,” Coach Ellis summed up after the game.

“Even in the second half, when we were far from the level we’ve been at the last few weeks, we outscored them by eight points and almost had a shot to tie the game, so we showed there we should have been on the winning side today.

“At 5-5, we dearly want to head into the Christmas break with a winning record, so we are going to have to atone for this one the hard way at Thames Valley next week.”

After next Saturday’s visit to promotion contenders Thames Valley, Ipswich are not in league action until the 13th of January.