The tenacious Leeds Force stumbled to a first defeat of 2018 on Friday night, suffering a 92-65 BBL road defeat against Surrey Scorchers at Surrey Sports Park.
A fiery opening saw Greek acquisition Rafail Tsourakis muscle to the rim and convert as Force raced into an early lead against the play-off-chasing Scorchers. Surrey soon countered with a spree of baskets as Leeds began to let slip of their momentum, allowing Jordan Williams to convert with a vicious slam at the rim as Scorchers charged to a run of eight points unanswered.
Tavarion Nix’s tough finish and an acrobatic effort from Adrian Kuyinu helped Leeds cut the deficit down to only six points. Force’s relentless bombardment of the Surrey defence from three-point range eventually gave way to a desolate attacking period as Leeds began to splutter offensively – losing their composure as Scorchers leapt into a 15-point advantage.
George Brownell’s third treble of the evening wasn’t enough to sway the tide as Williams led Surrey’s second-quarter demolition of the struggling Force with a series of quick conversions – enough to see the home side ease away after hitting their stride.
American star Nix ramped up the pressure with a brilliant solo effort followed by an emphatic block of Tony Hicks at the rim as Leeds targeted a comeback late in the half, only for Surrey to cruise into the break with a towering 20-point lead as a tired Force began to fall by the wayside.
Refusing to give in, the electric Kuyinu lead Leeds’ third-period charge with a spectacular long-range three as Force worked to cut the gap once again, halting Surrey’s offensive purple patch as the deficit dropped to 13.
A pulsating back-and-forth late encounter saw Force impressively edge the third period scoring heading into the final quarter, as Kuyinu continued to slice apart Surrey with a dazzling 22-point performance from the bench.
Despite a spirited late effort from Force late in the contest, Surrey held strong and comfortably cruised to an easy win.