Even though they played below 100%, the Preston’s College Titans maintained their winning streak by demolishing Manchester Magic 101-48 in the North West D-League.
Moses Byekwaso underlined why he is considered the best junior in the country with a personal haul of 29 points, which included some spectacular slam dunks.
“I thought we played well,” said Byekwaso. “Our defensive intensity was far superior then anything in the past and every guy on the team knew their roles.”
Melkisedek Moreaux added 24 points and Javel Small had 13 for the Titans, who consolidated their second place in the league with a 10-wins-to-two record.
Preston came out of the blocks lethargically ,allowing the younger Magic players an early 10-4 lead.
However, the lead would be their last of the game as the hosts went on a 13-2 tear to establish some distance between themselves and a Magic side who came into the game on the heels of a two-game losing streak.
Byekwaso set the tone with his devastating slash and dash plays setting the tone for his teammates to follow.
A 28-5 run to end the first quarter all but ended this contest in favour of Preston as a 32-15 lead soon became a 60-23 lead at the half.
“We were a little more physical than them and harder than them in spurts,” said Titans head coach Malcolm Leak. “They competed with us for maybe three or four minutes but then we picked up the pace.”
Such was the defensive intensity of the Titans that the Magic had trouble getting decent looks at the basket.
The third quarter, often the Achilles heel of Preston, proved no different as the home side could only muster 15 points, whilst allowing Manchester 12.
The only difference this time was they kept up the scoring when it mattered the most.
Starting the fourth quarter 75-35 up they showed no mercy, rattling off point after point, dunk after dunk.
With five minutes of the contest left, the lead inflated to 46 points as Leak rotated his bench. Such was the accuracy of the shooters that all but one Titan – Yugo Jeng – registered points on the scoresheet.
Moreaux, who has often had to play second-fiddle to Byekwaso in the scoring stakes, was noticeably impressed with the performance.
“It was a good win today,” he enthused. “I let my team down the last couple of games so I made it a point to play hard on defence and get my team-mates involved.”
And Leak said: “This is the best perimeter shooting team I have had in a long time.
“We still have a long way to go but our focus is to make the play-offs and make amends for missing out last year.”
In scoring 101 points – the most this season – Preston also maintained one of the meanest defences in the league, allowing opponents just shy of 63 points per game average.
They now have the luxury of having a week off before they play out the last remaining fixtures in the regular season before the playoffs start.
The Preston’s College Under-18s squad could not make it a double victory for Titans as they were beaten narrowly by cross-city rivals Myerscough College 64-60.
Khalil Baro returned from an illness to top score with 19 points.