Opening win for Man Met basketball team in BUCS season start

  • Man Met Uni began BUCS Premier League North season with confident 88-70 win at home
  • Visitors were a strong and accomplished Northumbria side

Man Met Uni began their BUCS Premier League North season with a confident 88-70 win at home to a strong and accomplished Northumbria side.

The visitors started their Newcastle Eagle professional, 6’7” Daniel Johnson-Thompson and NBL Division 1 standout 6’4” Emmanuel Kabengele, who were aggressive in defence and moved the ball fluently and quickly in attack. Man Met took the lead in the first quarter and held it throughout, despite persistent threats from Zach Martinez and Teesside Lion Matt Hughes, and a spectacular long-range basket by Tyrese Nfuo. Man Met’s Charlie Britton was solid in defence, Manchester Giant Jordan Whelan an ever-present danger and Rytis Dambrauskas worked hard in defence and was accurate at the basket.

BUCS, basketball, Man Met
Charlie Britton scores for Man Met

By the late stages of the second quarter both sides were making surging runs the length of the court, with Tyrell Brown controlling and netting for Man Met after a full-court pass by Whelan. Both sides utilised their bench at half-time and the free-flowing attacks continued, with the third quarter ending 61-53. In the final quarter Northumbria fought back hard but Man Met held them off for a confidence-boosting 88-70 win.

Northumbria coach Drew Lasker, a 16-year pro player turned university league coach, only decided his final team the night before due to shortages of players, and praised his side for the performance. “We just had a bad six minutes in the first quarter. We’ve got a lot of new young guys and they just weren’t ready yet. They were a little bit timid and Manchester went on a run. I called a time-out and I said: “Relax, guys”. Once we relaxed we started playing and got the game down to four twice but we were just chasing the game. If we eliminate those six minutes it’s pretty much an even game the whole way.

“This was a big learning experience for us. I’ll walk out of here happy with our effort and we’ll be ready for the next one.”

The game was livestreamed on MMU Sport’s website for the first time using a new broadcast system, part of an upgrade of sports broadcast coverage at the university. Man Met coach Callum Jones wants to build an audience for basketball through greater exposure online.

“The livestreaming is really important,” he said. “We want to elevate the platform we’re playing on and increase the exposure. This is a really good standard of basketball with everyone on the court pretty much having senior National league experience and two professionals in the Northumbria side and one in ours. We want to get more recognition for the sport both across university communities and beyond.

“I’m happy with the win. For a lot of guys this was their first game at university, and the older players haven’t really played competitively for the best part of two years. Tyrell Brown was very good defensively and had the right mix of composure and aggressiveness on the offensive end. Rytis was very effective in changing their shots and finishing around the ring. Josh Grant and Jordan Whelan had very productive all around games. I think everyone showed their potential, and we know we have a lot more to give as a team.”