Under-strength Ipswich emerged with credit from defeat at champions

Veron Eze scored 14 points for Ipswich at Liverpool. Photo: PAVEL KRICKA

Veron Eze scored 14 points for Ipswich at Liverpool. Photo: PAVEL KRICKA - Credit: Archant

NBL Division Two Liverpool 105 Ipswich 60 A severely under strength Ipswich Basketball made the long journey to already-crowned Division Two champions Liverpool on Sunday, writes Rob Schatten.

Coach John Ellis’ side are battling an extensive late-season injury list, and just four senior players were available, with the IBC Under-18s and Ipswich Basketball Academy providing additional players.

The hosts, still undefeated in Division II this season and coming off a comeback win over Greenwich Titans on Saturday, opened up by scoring the first 11 points of the game before jump shots by Ethan Price and Blake Read put Ipswich on the board.

It was Veron Eze and academy standout Jacob Morgan, the latter making his first start for the senior team, who paced Ipswich for the rest of the first half. Eze had 12 points by the half-time break, while Morgan had contributed another 10.

Liverpool found success with fast-break scores in the second quarter, and had extended their lead to 51-28 by half-time. Leading scorer David Ulph had 15 of his team-high 19 points in the first half.

Ipswich continued to work hard after the break but were unable to slow the champions’ varied offensive performance.

At the other end, however, Morgan continued to impress as he finished with 22 points, a game high. Emmanuel Onwuka also impressed in his first extended minutes for the senior team, contributing four points, five rebounds and a flashy assist in the second half.

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Liverpool outscored the visitors 34-15 in the third to put any hints of a comeback to bed, and padded the lead out to 45 points by the end.

“I don’t think I have ever come out of a loss this comfortable with a performance,” said coach John Ellis.

“We were still losing players to injury as late as Thursday and for these kids to come up here and put in a battling performance is very promising for next season.”

Veron Eze contributed a further 14 points for Ipswich; Ethan Price added eight points and ten rebounds.

The Suffolk side travel to slumping London Greenhouse Pioneers next weekend in their penultimate game of the season.