Sandoval the inspiration as Force rack up 100 points for first time this campaign

Matt Newby

Matt Newby

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Leeds Force picked up their first win on the road and broke the 100-point barrier for the first time this season, as they beat the Manchester Giants, writes Arif Ahmed.

It was a strong performance from the Force and the statistics made for good reading for coach Matt Newby’s men as three of the Leeds starting five all hit numbers of 20-plus.

Rob Sandoval led the line with 26 points in the match including five triples from beyond the arc. There was not much to separate the two sides in the opening quarter as both teams battled for supremacy on the court.

At one stage, the Giants threatened to open a big enough gap on the Force for them to become comfortable in the lead, but Sandoval had other ideas sinking triples to close the gap for the visitors.

Disraeli Lufadeju capitalised on a steal from Eddie Matthew to dunk the ball and retake the lead for Leeds.

With the momentum clearly with the Force, Isaac Mourier sunk a triple in the second-quarter which was backed up with a three-point play by Sandoval. The two early baskets combined with the Matthew basket before the buzzer in the first gave Leeds a run of eight points across quarters.

Four lay-ups from Jermaine Sanders in the closing moments of half gave Force a strong ten-point lead going into the break.

Leeds followed up their 31 points in the second with 31 in the third, but Manchester didn’t let their heads drop as Leeds went on the rampage as they kept plugging away and finding the basket just enough to keep the Force focused.

They gave Leeds a scare in the final 10 minutes as they went on an 11-4 run which made the minutes few minutes very nervy for the Force.

A lead that had once stood as high as 22 in the game was down to just eight with minutes left on the clock and with the crowd and momentum in the Giants favour.

Leeds did regroup and they broke the Giants down and held on for the win as they came away with the much-needed points, following on from Friday night’s disappointing home defeat by Worcester.

Leeds Force coach Matt Newby has his work cut out in the coming off-season following his side's hefty last-day defeat to Cheshire Phoenix.

Cheshire Phoenix 128 Leeds Force 77: Force go out with whimper as red-hot Phoenix party