LEEDS FORCE continued their winless away start to the 2017-18 British Basketball League season, suffering a 94-80 defeat against Plymouth Raiders.
Force threat Tavarion Nix quietened an electric home crowd with a deadly long-range triple in the opening seconds, before Raiders talisman Neil Watson answered straight back with a lethal treble of his own.
With Force focusing on denying the fiery Watson’s outside threat, Raiders pounced on Leeds’ porous inside defence, stringing together scores to pry open a seven-point advantage.
A teetering Force looked towards Eric Childress to spear-head a Leeds comeback, with the American’s sensational spinning finish and debutant Justas Rimkus’ emphatic treble clawing the away side back into contention. The tenacious Force continued to chip away at Raiders’ lead, hauling themselves within one point to end the first 10 minutes courtesy of Tre Bennett’s spectacular three as the momentum swung Leeds’ way.
Force snatched a deserved first lead in unorthodox fashion, with towering centre Allie Fullah knocking down a rare triple.
Isaac Mourier’s quick five-point salvo looked to have ignited a spark in Force, only for Nick Tomsick to shatter Leeds’ momentum with a well-timed triple as Plymouth grabbed a marginal three-point lead to end the half.
Having shown their potential in the first-half, Plymouth stormed into the second half in emphatic fashion, soaring into a towering 18-point lead as a lifeless Leeds crashed out of contention.
A vital shot from Eric Curth finally stopped the bleeding as a shell-shocked Leeds looked to bounce back from a nightmarish opening to the third period. Six-straight points capped by a vicious throw-down from Nix sparked hopes of an unlikely comeback, but the clinical Plymouth continued to protect their lofty lead with a quarter remaining.
Force skipper Samuel Toluwase produced a pair of impressive finishes, only for Plymouth’s Tomsick land a timely three as Force’s winless away run continued.