The Caledonia Gladiators come up short against the Plymouth Patriots as they lose 93-85 as they split the South-West road trip.
Gladiators come into this game hot, just as last night, they triumphed dominantly against the Bristol Flyers 93-71 behind David Sloan’s 27-point performance.
Caledonia was without Ali Fraser due to an injury, and he proved to be a big miss today.
The loss of Fraser meant a shortened rotation, which isn’t usually good in the regular season, it was made even worse on a back-to-back.
And that proved to be true as there was a very sluggish start to the game from the Gladiators, a couple of turnovers and eight missed shots before the opening Gladiators basket – at this point, the Patriots were up by 10, Bell leading the charge with an instant five points.
Darian Adams knocked down a three to open the account at the 6:41 mark, a scoring drought of three minutes and 29 seconds.
The Patriots would continue their charge for the rest of the opening period, but Caledonia kept at it, getting up to 13 points before the buzzer sounded, marking the end of the quarter at 20-13 to Plymouth.
The defence in the opening quarter was all over the place, not a lot of fouls but Plymouth were moving all around and getting open looks which gave them such a lead.
In these back-to-back games, rotation is needed and early on in the game, Oscar Baldwin saw the court and picked up two free throws for his first points of the season.
Gladiators kept chipping away at the Patriots’ lead, Onwas playing a great game of basketball so far – 13 points on 6/8 shooting, 6/6 on the two-pointers, with four rebounds, an assist and a block.
Rashad Hassan was looking like a handful for the Gladiators’ defence, and the big man at the five was dominating Tape, who is filling in for the absent Ali Fraser. Hassan finished the first half with eleven points and six rebounds – a team-high for the Patriots so far.
At the half, the Patriots were absolutely the better side – leading in all statistical categories other than rebounds, where the Gladiators dominated behind the teams 26 and Tape’s nine.
13 assists for Plymouth was the key difference, moving the rock better and faster, getting through the, usually strong, defence and finishing well.
An electric start to the second half for the Gladiators with the game being tied up for the first time since 0-0 via an Onwas lay-up, you just have to wonder what Gareth Murray said to the team at half-time.
The Patriots then went and regained their lead, but unlike after the last tie – the Gladiators stuck in and kept the game at the slenderest of margins.
In the opening half, Gladiators leader in points David Sloan had a very poor start with just two points in the opening 20 minutes but in the third quarter alone – Sloan proved why he is the number one option and he scored 12 points to lead this team.
Amongst the 12 points, there were some great plays from Sloan, including a beautiful finish where he went up for a lay-up with two chasers on him, leaned back midair and floated midair as he scored off the top of the glass.
A great third quarter from the Gladiators, going into the fourth down only by four points.
Just moments into the fourth and final period, Troy Simons went down with an injury and the game was delayed for about 10 minutes, this proved to be crucial as both teams lost all momentum and went cold, losing all heat they had built up – especially for the Gladiators.
The fourth quarter was a good one despite going cold, the Patriots got big leads back but the Gladiators do what they do best and that is stay resilient, the game was never tied or back in the Gladiators’ favour but the leads were chipped away until the very end.
Unfortunately for the Gladiators, the Patriots stuck it out and won by eight.
Princeton Onwas lead the way in scoring tonight for Caledonia with an emphatic 21-point performance, consistently strong throughout the game whilst also picking up five rebounds, two assists and a steal.
David Sloan with another strong performance. After his slow start to the game, he managed to reach 20 points with four boards and four assists.
Rashad Hassan lead the way in scoring for the game, with 23 points with nine rebounds, just one shy of a triple-double.
Breaking down the efficiency, it’s no surprise the Patriots won the game as, just like it was at half-time, they lead in all major statistical categories apart from rebounds.
Poor shooting night from the Gladiators as they only connected with 5/20 (25%) of threes and 10/20 (50%) of free throws, 16 assists weren’t enough either as the home side had 22, passing the ball around more effectively and dominant, getting more open looks.
Caledonia Gladiators move to 3-3 on the season in the BBL Championship, they look to get back into the winning column in Bristol again on November 4th, as the hosts look to get revenge from last night’s game!
Twitter – @DGJournalism_