Cambridge 2nd 34 – 61 Loughborough 3rd
The Cambridge Lions welcomed the Loughborough 3rd team to Cambridge on a chilly Wednesday night. The Loughborough team seemed to stand taller and looked more polished than Cambridge with their mismatched kits, though the Lions played with a lot of heart and team spirit. In a decisive defeat for the newly formed Cambridge team, there were some highlights such as strong defensive efforts in early quarters and an improved offense as the game went on.
The Lions struggled out of the gate to run their offense properly, and it was only in the fourth minute that Alex Foster scored the first basket of the Lions’ season. Soon after, Foster got to the line and split his free throws. The final two minutes of the quarter brought better offensive performance. Abdullah Kattineh got to the line and made both, followed by Michael Hofstetter who split his free throws. Keji Neri found a bucket as well. Unfortunately, Loughborough made five three-pointers. The Lions ended the quarter down 17-8. A notable highlight was Neri stuffing a Loughborough shot, bringing energy to the Lions bench.
To respond to the Loughbrough marksmanship, the Lions switch to man defense; almost immediately, #4 on Loughborough blew past his defender (can’t remember who) two times for layups. Loughborough then missed five straight free throws before #4 got another drive to the basket and another Loughborough player scored. At this point, Lions Captain Andrea Pizzi energized the team with a three-pointer and nice drive to the hoop. Noah Gordon found a bucket, and Jason Ye subbed in and scored a put-back layup and a three-point play, bringing the game within 5 points. However, the Lions ran out of steam, and Loughborough pushed the lead back up to 11, finishing the quarter up 31-20.
As Loughborough continued scoring consistently, the Lions struggled to score and had trouble breaking the press. Francisco Huhn splashed a beautiful three in the second minute and Antanas Radzevicius scored in the third minute. The Lions did not score again until Hofstetter got to the line in the sixth minute, splitting free throws. The Lions finally ran their offense correctly, freeing up Alex Tung for a mid-range jumper, followed up with a put-back from Neri. Unfortunately, Loughborough—especially #4—continued to pour on the points against the tired Lions defense and finished the quarter up 50-30.
Kattineh got to the rack in the first minute, but the Lions did not score again until Gordon banked a foul-line floater in the final minute (did anyone hear him call glass?). Hofstetter nursed an injury and Neri fouled out, reducing the size of the Lions team. Meanwhile, Loughborough scored 11 points, bringing the final score of 61-34.
The Lions will get a rematch against Loughborough at home on November 6th. Although the Lions struggled to run their offense and score with any consistency, they had a few strong defensive quarters where they held Loughborough to fewer than 15 points.
Lions Scorers: Pizzi 5, Ye 5, Kattineh 4, Gordon 4, Neri 4, Foster 3, Huhn 3, Hofstetter 2, Radzevicius 2, Tung 2, Booker 0, Lewis 0