Anglia Ruskin University earned the bragging rights in Cambridge for another year on Saturday night as they defeated the Cambridge Cats 96-71 at Kelsey Kerridge.
The night got off to a great start for the visitors as imposing big man Jack Daly slammed home the opening points of the contest and it would be the visitors would have the lead at the first interval 15-18. Anglia Ruskin started sloppily with players trying to do a little too much too soon in the hotly contested derby.
The second quarter was looking like being a one-sided affair as Cambridge connected on their early chances whilst Anglia Ruskin were struggling to get into a rhythm on either side of the ball. That all changed when the Head Coach of the home side, Matt Harber, called a second time in as many minutes and made four switches. From that moment the contest shifted completely in tone.
Vasilis Magkos, a player with the size of a power forward and the touch and finish of a point guard, started raining three-pointers and when the former Greek professional Anastasios Poulokefalos got in on the act the tie veered away from the Cats and they would trail at the half 43-31.
Magkos was once again vital for Anglia Ruskin in setting the tone early in the second half as his campaign of terror continued from the perimeter, shot after shot falling for the big man. Magkos would finish with 33 points, but it was all about the deep ball for Ruskin. The hosts are a threat from everywhere on the floor with big interior threats Graham Oluwadare and Paulius Morkvenus combining well with the strong Georges Mompoint to frustrate the visitors in the paint all night.
Sam Richardson was again the main man for Cambridge as he had been against Barking Abbey and he battled all forty minutes with the bigs of Anglia Ruskin, putting up and making tough three-pointers as well as attacking the rim. The player-head coach would finish with a team high26 points. He was supported with some good all-around play from Ashley Priddey and Jack Daley, with Tertikas playing a larger role in the offence than he had against Barking Abbey.
Anglia Ruskin blew the game wide open in the third quarter with a combination of deep shots and penetration to the basket, being rewarded with trips to the line and points. The Cats settled and managed to keep in sync with Anglia Ruskin but the damage was done and Anglia Ruskin managed to see out the victory taking a 69-47 lead into the final quarter and ultimately clinching the 96-71 victory as the two sides chose to dribble out the final possessions in a show of respect to one another.
Matthew Harber the Anglia Ruskin coach was pleased with the win. “That game meant a lot to the team.” Harber put the game in the wider context of the season “This year is about us establishing a new identity, what the team is about, I think today a large majority of the game we really played our brand of basketball both on the offensive and defensive end.”
The victory moves Anglia Ruskin to a 4-9 record and 7th position in the standings, whilst defeat consigns Cambridge to the bottom of the table and a 3-8 record.
Anglia Ruskin returns to action next weekend away to Chelmsford Lions whilst the Cambridge Cats travel to Folkestone to take on the Saints.
To hear the full interview with Harber click below.