Kent Crusaders shook off the rust from a weekend off and secured a hard fought 82-91 road win over Nottingham Hoods in NBL Division 2 Men’s on Saturday evening in Nottingham.
RJ Eytle-Rock (28) and John Shodipo (26) combined for 54 points, but despite leading the majority of the contest, Kent were never able to truly shake Nottingham off their tail. The victory is a crucial one, however, as it keeps their hopes alive for the Division 2 Men’s title.
Crusaders struck first going up early, before a Nottingham timeout saw them get straight back into it. Tintin Watts led from the front in the first half for Hoods where he scored the majority of his 16 points, but Kent were able to quieten him in the third and fourth, where Delaney Powell – who finished with a team-high 23 for Nottingham – picked up the slack.
And despite leading by double digits later in the game, once again Nottingham fought back.
“Tonight was a tough win for us,” said Kent Head Coach Lloyd Gardner. “I thought we played well. Nottingham came out and gave us their best shot as well. I felt they made a lot of shots, they’ve got a couple of really good players, high level players, Tintin and Delaney Powell, but they’re not the only guys that can score.
“First half we struggled a bit to slow them down, second half we made some adjustments. Really pleased, it’s one more win, one step closer for us to the end of the season, but it was a good performance and it was a very difficult game for us to get through.”
Kent round out the regular season with a double header next weekend, facing London Westside on Saturday, before a long trip to current league leaders Team Newcastle University on Sunday. One win would ensure promotion to NBL1 but they will need to win both to win the league title.