Nottingham Academy vs Loughborough College

Loughborough College made the short trip across the East Midlands to take on Nottingham Academy in a match-up that saw Loughborough came away with a 64-85 win. The game remained close for the majority of the contest, but a broken ankle suffered by Nottingham’s bright young sixth man Sami Bieeu in the first quarter left a gap in physicality that the visitors were able to take advantage of.

Nottingham were outmatched by Loughborough’s grittiness, having good spells throughout the game, but were unable to keep it up for 40 minutes. Nottingham’s offence was disrupted by Loughborough’s zone press, causing them to throw the ball away on numerous occasions. Nottingham had a man-to-man press of their own which caused Loughborough’s guards to continuously cough the ball up, but on far too many occasions the hosts would give it straight back in a lack of composure.

Nottingham went down by as many as 15 in the second half, but were able to ignite a comeback led by their second unit, as Ismael Ahmed saw the hosts close the gap to a five point deficit. Ahmed put 11 points on the board in a matter of minutes, where he displayed a broad skill-set; hitting three-pointers, mid-range pull-ups and layups, adding to his tally in a variety of ways.

In the end Nottingham’s fate was sealed by too many unforced errors in crucial moments which saw the hosts’ chances slip through their hands.

Nottingham Coach Kieran Wright said, “Loughborough came out with an edge today, which is a true reflection of their Coach Pak Chingombe. Our boys needed to match that throughout, which they showed they were capable of doing, but they need to add a little composure in the mix.”

Coach Wright continued, “There’s a fine balance between being in a rush and doing things quickly, my young players are still trying to figure that out. We’ll see what we’ve learnt from today and take it with us moving forward.”

Loughborough host Gateway College in their next fixture, while Nottingham make the trip to the West Midlands to take on undefeated ABL Central powerhouse Aston Manor Academy, in search of a major upset.