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Wilson bags 36 as Ipswich come close to upset at title contenders

PUBLISHED: 15:56 18 December 2017 | UPDATED: 15:56 18 December 2017

Ryan Wilson led Ipswich with 36 points in their defeat at Thames Valley. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA

Ryan Wilson led Ipswich with 36 points in their defeat at Thames Valley. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA

NBL Division Two

Thames Valley Cavaliers 99

Ipswich 90

Ipswich finished their first half of the season with a mightily impressive performance at league title contenders Thames Valley Cavaliers, coming up just short of an upset win.

Coach John Ellis’ side sit inside the play-off places at Christmas, as they close 2017 with a 5-6 record – incidentally an almost identical record to this time last season.

A much-changed roster has experienced plenty of inconsistency so far, never winning or losing more than two league games in a row to date – but many signs from Saturday’s encounter pointed to a strong second half of the season to come.

The Cavaliers were looking to extend an eight-game winning run as they welcomed the Suffolk side to Uxbridge, and made a strong start behind the offense of veteran forward Phil Perre, who had eight points in the first quarter.

But on the back of three-pointers from Ben Winter and Rabi Rai late in the period, Ipswich ended the first quarter even.

Ryan Wilson had scored 18 points in the first quarter for Ipswich, and as he was rested in the second, it was Winter who made several important shots to keep Ipswich in touch.

The hosts held a seven-point lead, 53-46 at half-time, and Coach Ellis stressed the importance of limiting Thames Valley’s key scorers.

Having conceded 53 points in the first half, Ipswich succeeded in slowing down the Thames Valley offense after the break, and pulled level at 80-80 with around five minutes to go.

A decisive sequence soon after saw Thames Valley score two quick baskets and make two free throws, giving the hosts an eight-point gap once more, and Ipswich couldn’t find the long-range shots needed to claw back the deficit.

“We did pretty much what I wanted on the defensive end today,” said coach Ellis. “Thames Valley are renowned for their many scoring options, and we forced their featured players into a lot of bad shots.

“Unfortunately, we were missing a lot of front-court players, and as a result we struggled to rebound against the tallest team in the division – that really hurt us.”

Wilson finished with a game-high 36 points for Ipswich; Rai added 19 and Winter scored 17. For the Cavaliers, Martelle McLemore racked up 32 points.

Tommy Smith will be watching from afar as Ipswich Town attempt to find a new level of consistency to force their way into the Championship play-offs.

Tommy Smith leaves Ipswich Town after more than 267 appearances for the Blues over 10 years - he certainly made his mark. We’ve picked out the best pictures from his time at Portman Road.

Premier League Cup

Ipswich Town U23 0

Sheffield United 2

Ipswich Town U23s paid for failing to convert their chances as they lost 2-0 to Sheffield United in the Premier League Cup at Portman Road, writes Harry Mallett.

Ipswich Town will miss the ‘influence and experience’ of departing stalwart Tommy Smith, according to striker Martyn Waghorn.

Long-serving defender Tommy Smith admits the tears were flowing when he said goodbye to his Ipswich Town team mates having today completed his move to MLS side Colorado Rapids.

Ipswich Town remain 12th in the Championship table following Saturday’s dire 1-1 draw at lowly Bolton Wanderers.

Martyn Waghorn knows he and his team-mates must rediscover their clinical side and begin to put together winning runs if they are maintain any kind of play-off push.

Former Ipswich Town player Georges Santos joined Andy Warren for a special edition of the Kings of Anglia Podcast.

Joe Garner turned home to finish off a superb Ipswich Town move as the Blues rescued a draw at Bolton.

Town fan Karl Fuller looks back at Town’s draw at Bolton and why one of Mick McCarthy’s after-match comments was not needed

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