Second-half display sees Ipswich power to road win in London

Sam Newman top scored for Ipswich in London

Sam Newman top scored for Ipswich in London - Credit: Archant

Ipswich put together a fantastic second-half performance to bring home an important 75-50 win on the road against London Westside, who are still searching for their first win.

The Suffolk Side are playing with the pressure of pre-season expectations that didn’t account for such a high level of basketball in NBL Division Two this season. However, their 4-2 record, which has them sitting in joint second place in the league, means the team is in good shape as the season edges closer to Christmas.

On Saturday the team staggered out of the blocks, trailing by five points after the first quarter, 16-11.

Ipswich were without youngster Caleb Fuller, who was on international duty with the England under-18s and the team missed the energy that he has been bringing to the team. Defensively Ipswich looked solid, but on offence the only scores came from the free throw line, and two lay-ups.

In the second quarter Ipswich upped their energy, winning the period 13-8, but baskets were still very hard to come by. In fact, Ipswich’s only jump shot came courtesy of a Taner Adu three-pointer.

The teams were tied at 24 at the half. Ipswich coach, Nick Drane, must have been happy with his team’s defence, holding their opposition to such a low total, but connecting on just one shot from outside the paint and a 20-minute period, would have raised more than a few concerns.

To start the third quarter Ipswich came out with a clear intention, to up the tempo of the game.

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Behind the play of the backcourt trio of Taner Adu, Josh Johnson and Sam Newman, the lead quickly ballooned to double figures, with Leigh Greenan and Tom Sadler dominating the backboards. A pair of Newman threes and a Greenan dunk got the Ipswich bench to their feet. Teenager Mark James was introduced and showed that he could play at senior level while Colin Dockrell, Billy Smith, Tyme Regent-Bascombe and Tendai Simbai all made significant contributions from the bench. Ipswich led 48-35 at the end of the third.

Ipswich continued their onslaught in the fourth, Newman had finally found his rhythm after an uncharacteristic poor shooting performance in the first half.

He continued to connect from range, while also getting out on the break with partners in crime Johnson and Adu, who both also connected from beyond the arc.

Josh Johnson was everywhere, finishing with nine rebounds and eight assists to go with 11 points. Taner Adu was super efficient with 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists, while Newman finished with 25 points and six steals.

Greenan and Sadler were both able to sit out the majority of the second half and rest their aches and pains, leaving the big-man duties to Colin Dockrell’s scoring and Simbai’s shot blocking and rebounding.

The Suffolk side finished the game off winning in comprehensive fashion, bringing home the 25-point victory.

“The first quarter was horrific,” said Drane. “The whole first half was pretty much a horror show. People don’t consciously shoot badly, but I just didn’t feel that our energy and effort levels were where they should be. However, credit to the guys for making some adjustments in the second half and coming out all guns blazing.

“I thought Taner had possibly his best game for us, he’s had to adjust his game and become more of a facilitator, which I think he did well today. Sam scored 25, but didn’t shoot the ball brilliantly, but I think he showed how he can help the team in other ways and this allowed the offence to come to him.

“The big’s were good today. Tom struggled to get it going on offence but he was all over the boards, which is something I’ve asked him to do a bit more of and I thought Colin and Tendai were excellent off the bench. Leigh was Leigh – dominant as ever”.

Nottingham Hoods currently sit at the top of NBL Division Two with an undefeated record at 6-0. Right behind them tied for second are Loughborough Riders (4-1), Ipswich (4-2), London Pioneers (4-1) and East London All Stars (4-2).

Ipswich’s next game is against East London All Stars on Saturday at Copleston.

Both teams will need to win this game to keep the pressure on the likes of Loughborough Riders and Nottingham Hoods, who are the early pace setters in NBL Division Two.

Tip off is at 4.45pm at Copleston.

Visit or follow @IpswichHoops on twitter for regular updates.

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