Titans turning the heat up at the top

Moses Byekwaso of Preston's College
Moses Byekwaso of Preston's College
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Preston’s College Titans Senior men produced a workmanlike performance to easily dispatching of bottom-of-the-table Liverpool 91-37 in the North West D-League.

Moses Byekwaso once again stole the show with a mesmerising performance of 27 points, which included four shots from beyond the arc.

Melkisedek Moreaux outlined his fine form of late with 26 points and Umar Siddique had 10.

“We played decent,” said Byekwaso, the team’s leader with 15.0 points per game average. “We played more as a team and everybody stuck to their roles.”

Going into the game the hosts were buoyed with their recent performances since the Christmas break and started out with an empathic nine unanswered points.

It wasn’t until the third minute of the game that Liverpool managed to get on the scoreboard.

In all 26 of the team’s first 28 points were scored by the trio of Moreaux, Byekwaso and Siddique. A 28-8 lead to end the first quarter all but signalled the death knell for Liverpool.

“We know what is at stake,” said coach Malcolm Leak. “We can’t afford to lose any more games and my guys came out with that hunger in their eyes. When the sharks smell blood in the water they’re going to attack.”

Try as they might Liverpool could not stop the younger, more athletic Preston side from scoring at will. And even when they did catch out Byekwaso and Moreaux out stepped the likes of Ebinzhe Udoh and Joel Ufele to pick up the slack and increase the gap furthermore.

“We have guys that can put the ball in the basket,”said Leak. “We have a great supporting cast that know their roles and can step up to the plate.”

A 27-point lead at the half soon extended to a 43-point lead at the end of three quarters.

Such was the quality of the defensive pressure that Liverpool could only muster 17 points in the second half to Preston’s 44. In all Preston hit a season-record 12 three-point shots with Byekwaso bagging four of his own.

“The mentality is very strong,” declared Moreaux. “We are playing together more as team now and are stepping it up on defensive end.”

His coach supported him by praising the special bond that exists between the core group.

“This team this year is something special,” stated Leak. “The team’s got a different grit and hunger about them than any other team I have coached before. They want to go out and win something. Second place is not an option.”

The win gave Preston the chance to consolidate second place with an 8-2 record in the league table, a game in hand over third-placed Blackburn Spinners, with Chester still on top with an 8-1 record. Only five games remain in the regular season and the emphasis is on finishing strong.

Up next for the men is an away trip to Tameside before returning home to play out three out of the remaining four games on their home floor.

In other action, the Under-18s squad narrowly missed out on beating cross-city rivals Myerscough College as they went down to a tantalising 63-66 defeat. Sheik Sherriff returned from a foot injury with a team high 23 points. They now sit in fourth spot in the North West D-League.