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Men's Basketball 1st edges Oxford

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Men's Basketball 1st edges Oxford

An offensive outburst late in the third quarter lifted UEL to a crucial 83-80 win over Oxford on Wednesday at SportsDock.

After an opening three-pointer by the visiting Oxford side, UEL’s Will Ashby and captain Dougie Bennett responded with threes of their own to give UEL the lead.

UEL padded their lead throughout the first quarter as Oxford played a sloppy game with wildly inaccurate passes and missed free throws.

Blayne Freckleton contributed a three-pointer and a pair of free throws later in the quarter and UEL ended the first period up 24-18.

The second quarter did not go according to plan for UEL, who had defeated Oxford 84-42 last year.

UEL missed two free throws right at the start of the quarter, whilst Oxford began hitting their shots and drawing close.

Oxford were fouled on a completed layup and the resulting free throw drew the scores level at 27-27.

Lukas Volskis put UEL back into the lead with a layup, but they were then unable to extend their lead after a foul, missing two free throws once again.

Oxford pulled level again with 4:15 remaining in the half and then an Oxford player put his side in the lead with a one-handed dunk.

UEL briefly pushed back in front 32-31 but Oxford took control of the game and built up a 41-36 lead at the half.

UEL continued to struggle early in the third quarter, quickly falling behind by nine points. But the hosts were resilient and suddenly found their first-quarter form again.

Oxford saw their lead slip away as UEL exploded out to a 57-52 lead near the end of the third. UEL were once again in command as the match went into the last 10-minute period, with UEL ahead 59-56.

Oxford refused to go down and hung close until UEL pushed out to a seven-point lead with 7:12 remaining. Volskis put the East Londoners up 80-71 but Oxford suddenly showed life again, clawing back into the game.

With a minute remaining, Oxford scored to cut UEL’s lead to two points. Oxford called timeout and fouled UEL on the ensuing possession. Volskis made one free throw and UEL led 83-80.

Oxford did nothing with their next possession and UEL had the chance to put the game out of reach, but once again missed a pair of free throws with just seconds remaining.

Oxford quickly drove the court, but couldn’t get the needed three pointer and UEL escaped with a hard-fought three-point win.

UEL will look to keep pace in a tight BUCS South Premier League when they take on Bath away next Wednesday, a team they defeated 104-66 in the first week of the season.

Report by Don McDermott.

Image by Taylor Kearney