A spirited Leeds Force slipped to a fourth consecutive British Basketball League defeat, slumping to a 86-79 loss against Surrey Scorchers, writes SEB GIGNER.
An impressive opening saw Tavarion Nix snatch his own rebound and offload to skipper Samuel Toluwase as winless Force powered into an early lead.
Surrey soon shattered Force’s early momentum, as early-season star Alex Owumi hauled Scorchers ahead with a well-timed outside effort.
New addition Tre Bennett made his presence felt, with the American’s pinpoint bounce pass unlocking the Surrey defence for Allie Fullah to finish.
But an error from captain Toluwase handed Surrey a late first-quarter advantage, sparking a momentum shift that saw Darryl Palmer stun the home crowd – connecting with Owumi’s exquisite pass and throwing down the thunderous alley-oop dunk.
A rejuvenated Force rallied behind playmaker Eric Childress – who drained a pair of perfect shots before Toluwase soared to rim and converted as Leeds stormed into a deserved advantage.
But Surrey muscled their way ahead at half-time through Owumi’s spectacular buzzer-beater.
Swarming second-half defence from Surrey suffocated Force, with Nzege’s silky lay-up finally snapping Leeds’ eight-minute scoreless spell.
In desperate need of a spark, debutant Bennett ignited Force’s comeback with a marvellous four-point salvo – halving Surrey’s lead.
Buoyed by a revitalised Force fanbase, Fullah’s sensational block ignited a fast-break leading to a forceful slam dunk from Nix, as Leeds narrowed Surrey’s lead to four with 10 minutes remaining.
With Leeds clinging to Surrey’s coat-tails, a cold-blooded three from the visitors’ Josh Steel and Gerald Robinson’s lay-in pried open a nine-point advantage with five minutes on the clock as Scorchers looked to dispatch a tiring Force.
A spirited six straight points from the electric Bennett boosted Leeds’ hopes of an unlikely comeback, but a composed final two minutes saw Scorchers ease their way to victory over the deflated Force.