University of Sheffield 63-30 University of Huddersfield
The University of Sheffield men’s basketball firsts claimed a comfortable victory in their top of the table clash against Huddersfield.
Both teams had won their opening two games but it was Sheffield who followed up wins against Leeds Met thirds and Hull firsts with a third straight victory, courtesy of a confident performance based on an extremely solid defence.
Despite the overall ease of the win in the end, it was the visitors who were the better team in the first quarter.
Sheffield had claimed an early 8-2 lead but were lucky to end the quarter level at 14-14 after Huddersfield missed a number of free-throw opportunities.
The second quarter started evenly with both sides exchanging points, but soon Sheffield were in front and never looked back, with Dan Bells particularly lively.
The home side’s increased aggressiveness on rebounds was a major factor in them taking a 31-22 lead at the halfway point.
The second half of the game saw Sheffield become even stronger and Huddersfield slowly faded out of the game, increasingly unlikely to get back in to it thanks to Sheffield’s defensive play.
On the offence Sheffield were clinical and were unlucky not to go further ahead when Jes Abiola was fouled under the basket having looked sure to score.
Sheffield started the final quarter with a 43-25 lead and that continued to grow until the final whistle.
The size of their lead meant that keeping the scoreboard ticking over would be enough to win the game, with the re-introduction of James Rowe helping them increase their points tally.
Some great team play was finished off right at the end by Chris Ratcliffe to make the final score a comfortable 63-30 win for Sheffield.
The second half defensive performance by Sheffield was certainly impressive, restricting Huddersfield to just eight points, as stand-in captain Andreas Papamichail pointed out at the end of the game:
“We made a slow start, like in our previous two games,” he said.
“But we picked up our game and showed really good fitness. I was really pleased with our second-half defence which allowed us to score a lot of points on the fast break.”
The win will give Sheffield great confidence ahead of a difficult trip to play Northumbria seconds in their next fixture, which is a cup tie.