MATCH REPORTS: United Bubble Bursts
Worcester Wolves 83- London United 72
LU got off to a crucial weekend of games against Worcester Wolves in distastrous fashion crashing to their first defeat of the season against a really fired up team on Saturday night.
London new the importance of maintaining their run of wins especially in the knowledge that they must return to Brunel to play closest rivals Sheffield the very next day.
The game started fairly well for London as they took an 18-19 1st quarter lead with Mumuni leading the way with 7 points and Callender and Reid looking bright in the paint.
The 2nd saw Wolves battle hard to regain the lead after London pushed 10 points ahead from Mumuni, Vear and Callender although the big crowd home advantage really helped them gain motivation as they fought back to take the half by 2 points at 36-34.
The 3rd quarter saw Wolves go on a 12-2 scoring run to take a 61-47 lead in the 9th minute giving United a tough ask, especially as Wolves were playing good team defence denying United's big men the easy looks they have been able to work previously.
The last quarter saw United desperately try to get back into the game although they could only trade baskets as Mumuni and Reid went to work however they trailed by 12 with 2 minutes to go and had two fouls to give before putting Wolves on the foul line. With 1 minute remaining United forced Worcester to make their foul shots and they duly responded with 5 from 8 as United hit the last 5 points of the game to finish 11 down at 83-72.
Top scorers for LU; Mumuni 29, Reid 15 and Deppisch and Callender 8.
LU 84 - Sheffield 95
With both teams having lost 1 game after London's shock away loss to Wolves the night before everyone was well aware of the importance of this game. It came with some pre-gmae hype as the season decider and both teams played like that could be the case.
United started with Mumuni scoring a lay-up in the lane as Ryan Patten responded with a pull up "J" on Steve Vear. Vear responded by hitting three as Patten then came back down to nail his own deep three from the top of the key. that run from both teams seemed to set the tone for the game as Ryan Patten was obviously the man to stop, but try as they may United just couldn't close him down. He continued to hurt United and racked up 13 1st quarter points giving Sheffield a 22-26 lead.
It was clear that United had the inside mismatches as Gayle matched up with Mantia Callender and fouled twice to try to stop him in the post.
Realsitically United should have exploited that size mismatch more and may have let Gayle and Sheffield off the hook.
By the half Patten continued to be their scoring machine notching up 22 of Sheffields 52 points whilst LU trailed by 11 with 41 with their scoring being spread across Callender, Reid and Mumuni.
United came out ready to play in the 3rd quarter and with a 10 point run up to the 6th minute took the lead by 1 point. Ryan Patten then stepped up again to sink a three and swing the momentum back to Sheffield. The 3rd ended at 62-68 with United trailing although looking like they had the capabilities to win the game.
The last quarter was a very tense affair as United stayed in touch and finally kept Patten from scoring until the 8th minute as they came within 1 point at 79-80 through some good hustle and team work as Callender hit 8 straight inside points and Mumuni scored 2 under the ring, Deppisch then failed to capitalise on a defensive rebound that seemed to fall his way and Patten popped up again, even under immense pressure from Mumuni to sink a three to give them a 4 point cushion going into the 9th.
As we entered the final 44 seconds United found themselves 5 down and put Sheffield on the foul line unnecessarily as they hit 2 from 4 to go 6 up and United could not respond.
Again London gave away a turnover at a crunch time after a defensive rebound as Callender and Williams lost concentration and it gave Sheffield the chance to control the ball forcing London to have to foul again.
London fouled to try and win the game but could not convert at the other end and paid dearly for it as the last 6 points were all scored on the foul line giving Sheffield a huge 11 point victory at 84-95 being more than the 6 point margin United beat them by at Sheffield.
That means that United need to rely on Sheffield to now lose two more games in the league whilst they would have to maintain a 100% record in the second half of the season.
That may be a very big ask as Sheffield are an experienced team and will take some beating by the other teams in this league.
Top Scorers for United: Callender 19, Mumuni 15 and Jagodka 11
Sheffield: Patten 39, Gayle 18 and Cauthorn 13.
London now need to pick themselves up after a devastating weekend and entertain Teesside at Brunel on Sunday 30th January at 4pm.
+ updated by on January 31, 2005
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