Surrey Scorchers 99 – 92 Caledonia Gladiators (35-19, 18-21, 20-25, 26-27)
(Scorchers – McFolley 25, Wang 25, Ogedengbe 25; Gladiators – Durham 16, Sloan 15, Onwas 13)
In tonight’s BBL action, the Caledonia Gladiators made the 420-mile trip down to Guildford to face off against the Surrey Scorchers in a very close match-up that saw the home side come out on top 99-92.
Josh McFolley, Padiet Wang and Tayo Ogedengbe all led the Scorchers with 25 points in an offensive masterclass.
Aljami Durham led the Gladiators with 16 points, followed by David Sloan with 15.
The game started with Surrey coming blistering hot out of the gates and rushing to an 8-0 run in the first 90 seconds, off the back of two three pointers.
Just a minute later, Wang converted on another triple, taking his team’s total to 3/3 and the score to 13-5.
Led by their tenacious defence, the hosts continued to put on a show offensively.
This time it was two monster dunks by Shakem Johnson – first with just one hand and then with two hands off Wang’s assist – making it 22-14.
Two more triples by the Scorchers, first by Ogedengbe and then by Wang, took the team’s total to 5/5 and the lead to double digits for the first time (28-16), two-and-a-half minutes before the end of the first quarter.
An incredible first 10 minutes for the home side was topped off by yet another three, this time by Josh Steel who beat the buzzer to make it 6/6 from downtown (35-19).
The second quarter started very differently, with Caledonia showing their intentions from the off – with Princeton Onwas stealing the ball on the first possession and converting the layup.
The Scorchers weren’t finished with their three-point bombardment however, this time with McFolley converting from behind the arc and increasing the lead to its highest margin of 15 (38-23).
The Gladiators weren’t just going to roll over and went on an 8-0 run to close the gap to seven points (38-31), when Fahro Alihodzic made two consecutive layups.
McFolley – who has been a monster on the offensive end ever since he signed for Surrey – showed off his silky moves by weaving in and out of the defence, to give his team some much needed points to extend the lead back up to nine (42-33).
The American guard then danced through the defence once again for another layup, before a triple by Wang on the next play brought the lead above double digits once more (49-37).
Surrey just seemed to be having one of those days where everything drops for them, exemplified perfectly by Ogedengbe’s triple a minute before halftime, when at the end of the shot clock the ball bounced off his leg but he still managed to drain it.
A three by Onwas concluded the first half with the hosts ahead 53-40.
The third period started just like the second, with the Gladiators stealing the ball and finishing with a layup.
The two teams then proceeded to exchange buckets for the next five minutes, until Ogedengbe hit another three, to extend the Scorchers’ lead back up to 15 (66-51).
The Surrey captain hit his fourth triple of the game just a minute later, when Kyle Carey collected the offensive board and found him open in the corner, with the Surrey lead now reaching a game-high 16 points (69-53).
The home side weren’t the only ones making threes, with Caledonia also hitting their shots from behind the 6.75m line, this time with Kyle Jimenez, to bring the difference down to 10 (73-63).
The Scots managed to go on a 7-0 run to start the fourth quarter and turned the contest it into a one-point game (73-72), when Fraser Malcolm converted from downtown, with eight minutes left.
A three by Ogedengbe in reply gave some much needed breathing room to the Scorchers (76-72).
The two teams then had a shoot-out, with each side scoring two each (85-80), Jimenez and Malcolm for Caledonia and Ogedengbe for both of Surrey’s – in what can only be described as Steph Curry-like numbers, shooting 7/9 from behind the arc.
As the game was winding to a close, the Gladiators managed to turn it into a one-possession game once more, when Durham connected from three (93-90) with 100 seconds left.
Over the next 80 seconds, the two sides failed to score, with Caledonia having possession of the ball on the Scorchers’ baseline with 15 seconds left.
As Patrick Tape went for the layup, he was blocked by Johnson, before McFolley converted the wide open layup on the fast break down the other end of the court, effectively calling game with 10 seconds left and the score 95-90.
With this dub the Scorchers move to 3-23, while the Gladiators drop to 13-11.
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