Quincy Taylor scored 27 points and created 5 assists as he helped Surrey Scorchers secure their third victory in a row, this time over a stubborn Leeds Force.
FT: Surrey Scorchers 80-77 Leeds Force.
Coming into the match, Surrey were feeling confident having defeated both the Manchester Giants and London Lions in the previous game week. Force, on the other hand, had lost their last 9 matches and knew they needed a win to reignite their play-off hopes. The game started as a tense affair, with both teams sharing the points. Big Mike Ocherobia began the early stages with a couple of 2s, rounded off when he scored from a free-throw. Soon after, Scorchers began to take the initiative and built a 9-point gap at 20-11, finishing when Chaz Rollins scored a 2. Leeds continued to fight, but a late scoring run of 9-2 including 2s from Tayo Ogedengbe, Will Neighbour and Quincy Taylor, saw Scorchers end the quarter leading 29-15.
Surrey has become known as ‘The Comeback Kings’ of late, but this time it was Leeds who were on the comeback trail. Scorchers started the second quarter strongly when Taylor and Big Mike scored a couple of 2s which helped the team build a 15-point gap between them and their rivals. But a 12-2 scoring run from Force, saw them close the gap. Tayo and Neighbour kept Scorchers in the lead, but Leeds hit back once again, and moved to within 2, with a minute left in the half. Both teams continued to fight, but right at the half-time buzzer, Leeds took the lead for the first time in the quarter and they went into the break 47-46 in front.
Early on in the season Scorchers had struggled in the third quarter of matches but knew they couldn’t afford that in this game. They started strongly when Neighbour found a 2, to put them back in front, but soon after Force found their rhythm again and retook the lead. They stayed in front for over half the quarter, and while Scorchers were staying close, they couldn’t level the scores. This was until Tayo hit a 3 that brought the crowd to their feet. The scoring slowed down after this, but towards the end of the 3rd, a couple of 2s from Taylor and a 3 from Neighbour, put Surrey back in front. And as the quarter came to an end Scorchers lead 64-61.
The final quarter was a nervous affair, with neither team wanting to give anything away. After 3 and a half minutes played, Force had levelled the match at 66 apiece. But Scorchers soon moved in front once again, Rollins started the scoring with a 2, while a couple more 2s from Neighbour, Big Mike, and Taylor saw Surrey take a 6-point lead with 3 minutes left. Despite, their form the Leeds players didn’t drop their heads and fought back to within 1, with 1 minute left to play. However, a well-timed timeout from Coach Creon helped Surrey calm the game down as they looked to close it out, and just as the last buzzer of the night sounded Will Neighbour found a 2, for the final points of the match, which gave Scorchers an 80-77 victory.