Worthing Thunder missed ten free-throws as they crashed out of the National Cup in the third round with a 78-60 defeat away to the Bristol Academy Flyers.
The league champions asserted their dominance in the second half of play, out-scoring Thunder 43-24 and out-rebounding the visitors 43-27 as Bristol now move on to the quarter-finals.
Courtney Small led Worthing’s scoring with 16 points with Francesco Amato hitting 12 points, but no doubt a night that Thunder will want to forget.
“We played well in the first half, good team basketball,” Thunder captain James Brame said.
“But we went away from that in the second half and Bristol broke us down scoring easily and making it very hard for us to score.”
Small drew Thunder level at 2-2 early doors as both teams traded buckets to begin with, but the hosts built up their advantage to 11-6 thanks to a triple from Doug McLaughlin-Williams off the feed from Greg Streete.
Thunder came back though as first quarter proceedings came to a close, a pair of foul shots from Amato narrowing the gap to 21-17 at the end of the first as Thunder finished the stronger of the two sides after the opening ten minutes.
Vinnie Darpino cut the gap to a field goal with a two-pointer to begin the second, as Thunder was settling into the contest. Tyrone Treasure increased the gap back to four though with a reply.
It wasn’t until the latter stages of the second period where Thunder took pole position of the game, thanks to a steal and slam from Marcus Tullis, giving the visitors a 36-35 lead and it remained that as both teams headed to the locker rooms for half-time.
Chris Talley extended the lead to four at 39-35 with Thunder’s only three-pointer of the evening, and Worthing managed to keep that lead for the majority of the third quarter, until a McLaughlin-Williams triple gave Bristol the lead again at 46-44 with 4.03 of the third remaining. This time, it was a lead they would keep for good.
Shots were not dropping for Thunder, as Bristol slowly built up their lead, and they led 57-50 heading to the final ten minutes.
The fourth quarter though proved to be a horror show, as Bristol ran riot holding Worthing to just 10 points as they ran out comfortable winners.
Despite seeing extended minutes, Thunder’s Jack Sunderland admitted that the team stopped playing as a unit: “We stopped playing as a team and went away from what was working, and resorted to playing 1-on-1 basketball, which may work for a while, but you can’t maintain it for the whole game.”