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Coventry Crusaders (33) 79
Plymouth Raiders (42) 99

Coventry Crusaders were outplayed by the league leaders as they suffered a disappointing home defeat.

The first quarter was close, with the teams trading baskets and ending the quarter 19-21. Marvin Harrison scored 11 points for the Crusaders.

The game then started to slip away from Coventry. Plymouth’s centre Terrence Durham found form, going inside and dunking the ball on several occasions at get to 15 points by half time as the Raiders pulled away.

As soon as the Crusaders started to get back into the game, and cut the deficit, the Raiders would regain their control and press ahead again.

The third quarter ended with Raiders having increased their lead to 17 points, and the supporters wondering how late the Crusaders would leave it to make a comeback.

Things got worse for the side in the fourth quarter when starting point guard Matt Collins went down with an ankle injury which kept him from returning to the floor.

Collins had been containing the Raiders American Todd Cetnar very well defensively. He was replaced by Eduard Girbal, who was returning from a back injury.

With a number of steals and fast break he made a good impression, scoring all his 12 points in the second half.

Another bright spot for Crusaders supporters was seeing Harrison continue his first quarter form with a good solid performance.

Coach Dip Donaldson started a game for the first time in 18 months because of the absence of Alvin Scott with flu.

The end result was a 20 point win for Plymouth. Crusaders came within 12 points of catching them in the run-up to the final buzzer, but the result belonged to the Raiders once again.

Donaldson said:

"At this stage in the season they are the best team in the league, and their record shows it.

“We need to improve in a few areas in order to compete with them over a full match, but our team is still in fourth place and we feel good about the improvements we are making each week.

“I know what needs to be done, and work will begin this week at training to correct a few things.”

The Crusaders next home game will be against Worthing Thunder on 10 February. This weekend is a bye week and valuable time for Collins to recover from his ankle injury.

Crusaders scorers: Sharland 4, Livingston 7, Donaldson 8, Collins 11, Girbal 12, D. Pope 14, Harrison 22

Plymouth scorers: Deng 2, Burchell 4, Hayes 6, Knechtel 10, Wellington 13, Williams 16, Cetnar 18, Durham 30
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CWN / Sport / Basketball / Coventry Crusaders / 22 Jan 01
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