Heat robbed by Eagles
19 December 2011
In a see-saw match that had 20 lead changes and nine ties, the Heat were trailing by just two points with under two minutes to go. Mike Martin had just scored on a baseline reverse lay-up to make it 70-72. Needing a stop, the Heat got one, forcing Andrew Thompson into a long three.
Tayo Ogedengbe came the other way but lost the ball as he went to the basket, the Eagles' Andrew Bridge coming up with it. In the ensuing confusion, several bodies hit the floor, including Bridge and the Heat's Shaun Durant was rather harshly adjudged to have committed an unsportsmanlike foul, handing two free-throws and possession to the Eagles.
Bridge stepped up to the line, but could only make one of two and at that point, the Eagles were a very poor 9-20 from the line. On the ensuing possession, Thompson and Durant were battling for position off the ball when the referees called a foul on Durant. With the Heat in the penalty, it was two more free-throws and Thompson, on his first trip to the line, calmly sank both free-throws.
The Heat needed a score, when Durant tried to slip the ball to Mike Martin, open under the basket, Charles Smith expertly read the play and got his hand on the ball, setting Thompson free on the fast break to make it 70-77 with 48 seconds to play. Martelle McLemore briefly reignited the Heat's hopes with a deep pull-up three to trim the lead to four, but the Heat were playing catch-up and had to foul to stop the clock. The Eagles made their free-throws when it counted, Thompson hitting two more before Bridge and Smith sealed the game from the line, the Eagles making all of their last eight free-throws for final score of 83-73.
The Heat again had a balanced attack, with Martelle leading the way with 19 points, Tayo adding 17, Drew Lasker 11, Julius Joseph 10 and Mike Martin 10 points to go with seven rebounds. Shaun Durant continued his strong showing on the boards, hauling down a game-high 14 rebounds, eight of them on the offensive glass.
The Eagles were led by Charles Smith's 24 points, with Joe Chapman adding 23 less than 48 hours after dislocating his shoulder against the Wolves. Eagles player-coach Fab Flournoy heaped praise on the guard after the game, calling him a warrior and singling out a three-pointer in the fourth quarter that turned the tide in the Eagles' favour.
The Heat now return to the Surrey Sports Park on New Year's Day to take on the Durham Wildcats, 3 o'clock tip-off.