Bradford Dragons fell to a disappointing 86-70 road defeat against the Loughborough Riders in NBL Division One.
The Dragons drop to 6-9 on the season after a second straight defeat and a sixth defeat in the last seven games.
Sparked by a dominant second and third quarter, the Riders led by as many as 31 in a game where Dragons struggled offensively.
Heading into their third meeting of the season, with the season series tied at a game each, the two teams sat tied for the sixth spot in Division One on 12 points apiece.
Opening an early 7-2 lead, the Dragons were spacing the floor well and getting good looks, as Andreas Lycoudis, Ricky Fetske, and Dave Walsh all-scored.
An Achilles heel all game long for Dragons, the Riders offensive rebounding began to take centre stage in a 10-2 run that put the hosts 12-9 to the good.
Both teams battled to take the game by the scruff of the neck, but a tightly fought opening quarter ended with Dragons down 22-21.
Led by 11 points from Lycoudis on 4-4 shooting, the Dragons offense looked in a nice rhythm moving into the second quarter.
After knocking down four threes on 4-8 shooting in the opening period, Dragons perimeter shooting tailed off dramatically in an almost five-minute stretch of scoreless basketball to open the second quarter.
Dave Walsh scored or assisted on the next three Dragons buckets to keep the visitors within touching distance.
After a Great Osobor alley-oop dunk cut the deficit to 34-27, the Riders produced a devastating three-point barrage to end the first half.
Knocking down four threes on their final five buckets, the hosts took a commanding 48-28 lead into the break.
The penultimate quarter started in a painstakingly similar fashion for the Dragons, as the Riders Jonas Dieterich and Harrison Gamble both knocked down threes.
Great Osobor was the only bright light in the period, scoring seven of the Dragons 15 points in the quarter.
Another challenging quarter offensively allowed the hosts to lead by as many 30, as the Dragons were outscored 25-15.
Second-chance points were killing the visitors, with the Riders truly dominating the glass on both sides of the floor.
After three quarters, Dragons trailed 73-43 on the back of 16 threes from the Riders.
The visitors produced a dominant 27-13 fourth quarter performance to end the game, but the damage had long been done for Coach Mellor’s team.
Dragons youngsters Elijah Walsh and Osobor continued to show promising flashes, combining to score eight points in the quarter, and Lycoudis also added seven points in the final ten minutes of action.
The Dragons cut the deficit to 16 late in the game, but the visitors return to West Yorkshire empty-handed.
The Dragons were outrebounded 56-28 and held to just 6-24 three-point shooting as the Riders knocked down 16-36 from three.
The Final Score, Loughborough Riders 86-70 Bradford Dragons. The Dragons road struggles continue as they remain without a road victory since December 19th, 2020.
The Dragons drop to ninth in NBL Division One with four games left of the regular season.
Andreas Lycoudis led all scorers with 23 points on 4-7 shooting from three, and Great Osobor added 15 points and 5 rebounds.
Box Score: https://www.fibalivestats.com/u/BBE/1774144/bs.html#ASFSK
Coach Mellor gave an honest review of his team’s performance, he said:
“It was a disappointing performance, Loughborough made 16 threes which is always going to make things difficult, and we shot the ball poorly.”
Next up for Dragons is a trip to face the L Lynch finalists Thames Valley Cavaliers on Saturday, April 3, with tip-off at 6.30pm.