UEL dunk Oxford rivals

UEL on the attack at SportsDock

UEL on the attack at SportsDock - Credit: Archant

BUCS South Premier: UEL 84 Oxford University 42

The University of East London’s men’s basketball team cruised to their third straight BUCS South Premier League victory when dumping Oxford University at SportsDock last night.

UEL centre Leigh Greenan won the opening tip, but Oxford’s Bauza dashed through the home squad to intercept and then posted a lay-up to open the scoring. The hosts scored their first point in the second minute when Will Ashby hit a free throw and Greenan then scored a three-point play to give UEL their first lead.

The two defences were very physical throughout the first quarter and dominated each other’s offence under the basket.

But UEL’s offence was able to break through and take a 16-8 lead at the end of the session.

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“At the start we were very slow to come out,” said Blayne Freckleton. “But bringing in extra players, fresh players, just made everything much easier for everyone. And everyone could put in maximum amount of effort, take a break, maximum effort, take a break, and that’s just what pushed the lead out, because they don’t have a deep bench like we have.”

Captain Dougie Bennett added: “Our defence was really good, we played man-to-man the whole game and got a lot of steals, a lot of fast-break scores.”

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The UEL offence fully found its stride in the second quarter as London Lions star Freckleton opened the scoring one minute into the quarter, then Matic Zupanc hit a three and UEL began to pull away.

Aaron Smith took an errant pass that had gone between the legs of an Oxford player and scored a lay-up while getting fouled. And although he missed the following free throw, Smith began to score consistently after that, alternating points with Freckleton as they led the charge for UEL, who held a 44-18 lead halfway through the game.

“I started off well in the second quarter,” added Freckleton. “It got us going a little bit. But just trying to make everyone better is what I was trying to do. As long as we win, that’s what I care about really.”

UEL’s strong play was an all-around effort from the team.

In the third quarter, Bennett and Lukas Winegarner kept up the scoring while Oxford had only three players on the board by the end of the session.

UEL outscored Oxford 27-10 to move into a dominant position at 71-28 and, in the final quarter, they regularly played Dylan Costelloe and Filippo Ampomah, both freshers at the east London University this year.

Oxford edged the quarter scoring 14-13 and, although Ampomah sealed UEL’s win with a lay-up at the buzzer, Bennett was not pleased with the outcome of the final period.

“The last quarter was disappointing for us,” he added. “We lost it and we should never be losing to a team like that.”

Overall, however, the team was pleased with their performance.

“[We] wanted it more,” Freckleton said. “We’re a bit more organised. Everyone knew each other’s roles.”

“They couldn’t cope with us full-court for 40 minutes,” Bennett said. “We’ve got a lot of big guys in our team. As long as we get the ball inside, we’ve got a large chance of scoring.”

UEL (3-0) will face their toughest test so far this season next week when they travel to face Brunel, who are also undefeated.

Bennett is well aware of the challenge his team will be facing, adding: “It’ll be a tough game, especially when we’re playing away. But we’re training well, we’re playing well, we’re unbeaten. We’re happy at the moment, and we’ll see how it goes.”

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