Team Northumbria have established themselves as one of the main contenders in the National Basketball League, over recent seasons, taking a league and cup double last time around. The two teams also faced each other on four separate occasions during the last campaign, with the North Easterners coming out on top on all four occasions.
The first quarter was evenly matched, with the travelling Dragons going into the first of the scheduled breaks with a single basket lead, 22-24. But in the second quarter the visitors upped the ante and put themselves into a strong position, going into the half time interval with a double figures lead, 36-47.
The hosts came out after the break with all guns blazing, whilst the Dragons struggled to regain their rhythm. A 24-8 third quarter, in the home sides favour, completely turned the lead around, with Team Northumbria now leading 60-55.
For the second consecutive game, Latvian Rihards Sulcs led the Dragons scorers with 21 points, also recording 14 rebounds and 6 assists, on his way to his first double-double of the season. Marcus Gooding, in his first appearance of the season, added 17 points (8 rebounds, 5 assists), whilst his fellow American, Ricky Fetske also contributed 14 points to the Dragons total.
The game high went to another American, Northumbria’s 6’5” Wing, Malcolm Smith, who also recorded a double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds.
Dragons head coach, Chris Mellor commented, “We played well in the first half, but they started the third quarter very well and we lost the momentum we had. Poor shooting, foul trouble and too many turnovers also hurt us, but they (Northumbria) played well in the second half.”
The action returns to the Dragons Den this coming Saturday evening (7th October, 6:15pm) when the Dragons host Loughborough Student Riders, on the opening weekend of the National Basketball League Division One campaign. Despite the Dragons winning both fixtures against the Riders last season, the visitors finished achieved a higher finish in the league table. With both teams aiming to improve upon their successes of last the last campaign, this fixture is all set to be a full-on encounter, to open the 2017/18 season. Advance tickets are available from www.bradforddragons.co.uk.