Key win for UEL men’s basketball

Blayne Freckleton atacks for the basket for UEL earlier in the season

Blayne Freckleton atacks for the basket for UEL earlier in the season - Credit: Archant

BUCS South Premier: UEL 89 Brunel 76

Will Ashby scored 22 points and captain Dougie Bennett dropped a trio of three-pointers in the fourth quarter as UEL picked up a statement win against South Premier rivals Brunel University.

Visitors Brunel hit two free throws 10 seconds into the match but Ashby responded with two layups and UEL burst into an 8-2 lead.

An Ashby three-point shot put UEL ahead 13-6 and Brunel called a timeout shortly after. With the score 17-10 to UEL, Brunel found their stride and rattled off nine unanswered points to take the lead.

Blayne Freckleton then hit a long three-pointer to put UEL back in front and the home side led 23-19 at the end of the first.

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Freckleton hit another three and sank three free throws after being fouled on a three-point attempt early in the second quarter, stretching UEL’s lead to 32-22.

Brunel fought back over the next few minutes and trailed by six, but three-pointers from Lukas Volskis and Ashby undid their good work and UEL were back in front by 10.

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The visitors called a timeout with a few minutes left in the half and their defence tightened. Neither team scored until Ashby shot two free throws to give UEL a 12-point advantage.

Brunel hit a shot right at the buzzer and the two teams broke for halftime with the score 44-34 in favour of the hosts.

The start of the third quarter was one to forget for UEL. Brunel scored eight straight points to pull to within two. Ashby picked up two points for the hosts, but Brunel held all the momentum and went ahead, 49-46.

UEL recovered and regained the lead just minutes later on a Volskis layup. Brunel came back to draw level at 54 all, but as the quarter ticked away UEL slowly pulled ahead.

A scoreboard error took away two of UEL’s points, but the East Londoners still fought on to a 64-60 lead with one quarter left to play.

That quarter belonged to UEL. Big man Lamar Roberts scored 12 points and Dougie ignited the team with his three three-pointers and UEL ran away with the match to win by 13 points.

Bennett said afterwards that it was a very important win for UEL. Just last week, Brunel cruised to a dominant win against a Southampton Solent side that had handed UEL their first premiership loss in the second week of the season.

The skipper noted for UEL to beat Brunel proves that the East Londoners can beat Solent when they play again on November 25 at the SportsDock: “We were always confident when they were going to come here that it was going to be a challenge.

“But they won’t beat us now that we’ve put our foot down and beaten Brunel. We’ll get the win against Southampton. This gives us confidence.”

Bennett added that he was very pleased with the performance against Brunel, saying “We’ve just got all our guys back together. Lukas Volskis has just come back into the team, Will Ashby’s been playing the last couple of games.

The rhythm is there, the chemistry’s there. The bench has been cheering us the whole way.”

UEL are back in action next Wednesday against Oxford at the SportsDock, with tip off at 4 pm.

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