UEL scrape past Oxford
- Credit: Archant
University of East London 83 Oxford 80
An offensive outburst late in the third quarter lifted the University of East London to a crucial 83-80 win over Oxford on Wednesday at SportsDock.
After an opening three-pointer by the visiting side, UEL’s Will Ashby and captain Dougie Bennett responded with threes of their own to give the hosts the lead.
They padded their lead throughout the first quarter as Oxford played a sloppy game with wildly inaccurate passes and missed free throws.
Blayne Freckleton contributed a three-pointer and a pair of free throws later in the quarter and the east Londoners ended the first period up 24-18.
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The second quarter did not go according to plan for UEL, who had defeated Oxford 84-42 last year.
The hosts missed two free throws right at the start of the quarter, whilst the visitors began hitting their shots and drawing close.
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Oxford were fouled on a completed layup and the resulting free throw drew the scores level at 27-27.
Lukas Volskis put UEL back into the lead with a layup, but they were then unable to extend their lead after a foul, missing two free throws once again.
Oxford pulled level again with 4:15 remaining in the half and then an away player put his side in the lead with a one-handed dunk.
UEL briefly pushed back in front 32-31 but Oxford took control of the game and built up a 41-36 lead at the half.
The east Londoners continued to struggle early in the third quarter, quickly falling behind by nine points. But the hosts were resilient and suddenly found their first-quarter form again.
Oxford saw their lead slip away as UEL exploded out to a 57-52 lead near the end of the third. They were once again in command as the match went into the last 10-minute period, with the hosts ahead 59-56.
The away team refused to go down and hung close until UEL pushed out to a seven-point lead with 7:12 remaining. Volskis put the east Londoners up 80-71 but Oxford suddenly showed life again, clawing back into the game.
With a minute remaining, Oxford scored to cut UEL’s lead to two points. Oxford called timeout and fouled UEL on the ensuing possession. Volskis made one free throw and UEL led 83-80.
Oxford did nothing with their next possession and the home side had the chance to put the game out of reach, but once again missed a pair of free throws with just seconds remaining.
Oxford quickly drove the court, but couldn’t get the needed three pointer and UEL escaped with a hard-fought three-point win.
They will look to keep pace in a tight BUCS South Premier League when they take on Bath away next Wednesday, a team they defeated 104-66 in the first week of the season.