Updated: Oct 29, 2018
Bury St. Edmunds Basketball Club's second game back in the Cambridge League saw them travel to face Cambridge Cats, bolstered by the return of Ashley MacDonald and with more players in reserve than the prior night's visit to Cossacks.
Some great ball movement and outside shooting from Cats saw them edge out to a 21-16 lead after one. Bulldogs made a strong start to the second though, as they controlled the opening five minutes with a 3-7 run to bring the game within a point, as the tempo quickened and MacDonald and David Wise sat with some foul problems, the Cats edged ahead 41-34 at the half.
The third quarter saw the Bulldogs tie the game up courtesy of a 7-0 run, as Jason Sykes controlled the glass, while Matt Spurling and Patrick Laycock got the scoreboard ticking-over. The teams exchanged baskets throughout the middle minutes of the quarter, before Cats connected from deep four times in the closing three minutes of the quarter - including a pair from veteran guard Pete Charlwood in the final thirty seconds (and one on the buzzer) to extend the Cats lead to 62-50 after three.
The Bulldogs upped their defensive intensity in the fourth, as they pressured Cats' ball-handlers into numerous errors, allowing them to bring the game back to a one possession game. With both MacDonald and Wise fouling-out in the final minute, Charlwood coolly made a pair of clutch free-throws to put the game beyond Bury, 73-68.
Bulldogs top scorers were MacDonald (15 points), Spurling (15 points) and Laycock (14 points), while Jason Sykes was again named Bulldogs Player of the Game, for his 7 point, 17 rebound, 3 block performance.
”We brought a strong squad tonight, so it was frustrating to lose the game” said Coach Glenn Collins.
”Ultimately, we paid the price for too many missed free-throws. Credit to Cats though, they moved the ball well and punished our defensive lapses.”
"Having watched the game back, I can't say I was too happy with our performance" said the club's Head Coach Arron MacDonald. "I recognised the players and the uniforms, but it didn't look like 'us'. We didn't execute offensively, and made life too easy for our opponents at the other end. That last quarter looked a lot more like our team - but we'd dug too deep a hole for ourselves."
Coach MacDonald concluded "At the moment, the soundtrack to our season is a 'clanging' noise every time we go to the free-throw line. We got to the line plenty - 33 attempts in a 40 minute game is superb - but to go 16/33? That's unacceptable, we left a win at the free-throw line."
The Bulldogs Cambs League team are next in action at St. Neots Slammers on Monday 5th November.