An incredible end to a closely fought game saw Surrey Scorchers take a late 68-71 win at Bristol Flyers on Saturday night.
With the lead swinging both ways throughout the evening, either side could have sealed the chance to bag a win to kick off the 2015/16 BBL season but pure determination allowed the visitors to cruise through the 4th quarter and steal a dying seconds victory.
Coach Creon was without a trio of key names for the game, with Will Neighbour and Samuel Toluwase still awaiting international clearance and Desmond Lee due to arrive in the UK early next week.
This handed Scorchers full debuts to Elvisi Dusha, Henry Wilkins, Jacob Loveridge, Andreas Shreiber and Tayo Ogedengbe, all of whom featured in the starting 5.
Surrey opened the scoring on the night with a 2 from a simple jump shot, before Schreiber and Wilkins added efforts of their own to extend the lead to 4. Captain Ogedengbe, who was making his 200th BBL appearance at the SGS WISE Arena, picked up a rebound under the basket which he completed at the opposite end to give Scorchers full momentum in the opening quarter.
DJ Felder arrived on court to make his full debut midway through the period, closely followed by Lekan Popoola and Nick Schlitzer. Bristol pegged back late on with a brace of 2 pointers but 1 from the line for Schreiber allowed the visitors to take a 2 point lead into the first break (16-18).
Schlitzer bagged his first points in the Scorchers vest early in the 2nd quarter with a 2 point jump shot as Surrey continued to hold the momentum. He added another pair to hand a 6 point lead to Surrey in what was a messy period for both sides. Flyers quickly dragged the deficit down to 2 points late on, before Ogedengbe wowed the crowd with a huge dunk from a defensive rebound. Bristol went on to edge the quarter by a point, but Scorchers led 30-31 at half time.
Surrey again came out all guns blazing in the 3rd, with Dusha potting a 3 from down town to take his side to a 6 point lead. Greg Streete knocked in 2 for Bristol and it was at this point which the momentum quickly changed direction. 1min 30secs late Flyers found themselves down by a single point before taking their first lead of the game just shy of the midway point. Felder picked up an offensive rebound to score but this didn’t stop the hosts from cruising to a 10 point lead. Looking shell-shocked, the quarter time buzzer came at the right time for Scorchers, giving them a chance to regroup at 54-47.
It looked like Scorchers’ luck was out. Schlitzer, Popoola and Schreiber all made their attempts on the basket, but still the hosts kept the pressure high. With 6.06 left on the clock Bristol’s lead was at 13 points thanks to a McFarland 3 pointer.
It was at this point which Ogedengbe landed a 3 of his own and the tide turned once again. Scorchers started to chip away at the lead and claw back the deficit. A steal and basket from Dusha brought it back to a 5 point game with 3.01 on the clock and Bristol started to look nervous. The former Surrey United man picked up a defensive rebound for Schlitzer to finish with a 3 as the travelling support roared into applause.
1.01 left in the game and Tayo showed why he was the top British scorer last season with a huge 3 pointer to
create a 1 point game! Seilund committed a personal foul on the Scorchers captain to give him the chance to level the score from the line, which he did successfully with 0.39 left in the game. Overtime looked inevitable as the clock ran down, until Schreiber bagged 1 from a free throw and 2 in the paint thanks to an Ogedengbe steal and the job was done. Surrey turned a 13 point deficit into a 3 point win in just 6 minutes of basketball!
Captain Tayo finished the night with the double-double of 23pts / 11reb, closely followed by Schreiber and Dusha on 17 and 15pts respectively.
An incredible performance from the BBL new boys, who have made a huge statement of intent in the opening round of the 2015/16 British Basketball League even with a trio of players missing from the roster.
Check out the video interviews below for reaction from Coach Creon, Tayo Ogedengbe and Elvisi Dusha following the win.
Scorchers are back in action on Friday evening when they host reigning champions the Newcastle Eagles at Surrey Sports Park. (7.30pm tip-off).