BRADFORD Dragons roared back from a 25-point deficit but eventually fell to an agonising 82-77 home defeat against the Loughborough Riders in Division One of the National Basketball League.

It was a tale of two halves for the Dragons, who showed all their grit and resolve after the interval to almost produce a remarkable comeback.

The Dragons came into Saturday evening’s game looking to consolidate last weekend’s win over the Essex and Herts Leopards, but first quarters have been something of an Achilles heel for the Dragons this season, and so it proved once more here.

Loughborough scored with a layup inside the opening 30 seconds but Bradford responded instantaneously from a Ricky Fetske three, to put themselves in the lead for the only time in the entire game.

Unfortunately, this signalled the start of the visitors' early onslaught. At one point they broke out into a 29-7 lead but a couple of layups from Kenny Ogunneye and four successive free-throws from Dave Walsh closed the gap to 11 points heading into the second quarter.

With Bradford down 40-27 with just under five minutes left to play in the half, an abundance of offensive rebounds for the visitors culminated in a 12-point surge that blew the game wide open.

The Dragons were seemingly second to every loose ball and every rebound in the first half as they trailed heavily heading into the locker room.

Jermayne Laing was the catalyst for a Bradford revival as he racked up 11 third quarter points to cut the arrears to 13 points heading into the final 10 minutes.

The five of Rafi Saipe, Andreas Lycoudis, Fetske, Laing and Rihards Šulcs started the fourth and produced an enthralling run that brought the hosts roaring back to within touching distance of the Riders.

Down 13 with 8:22 to play in the game, Bradford went on a team-high 12 point run that brought them to within one point.

Pinnock quickly stifled the run by scoring a huge layup for the Riders but Šulcs sunk two vital free throws that got Bradford back on level terms at 73-73.

The unnerved Riders reacted with two huge buckets but Lycoudis' pair of free-throws put Bradford within two points, with just over a minute to play.

But Loughborough man Kyle Jimenez knocked down a deep three with the shot clock running down and that proved to be that for the Dragons.

Head coach Chris Mellor said: “We didn’t turn up first half and they played well but, in the end, it was very disappointing not to close out the game having come back from 25 down to tie the game with two to go.”

The Official University of Bradford Player of the Game went to Jermayne Laing who recorded 17 points, 4 steals, and 4 assists.

Next up for the Dragons is a home clash against Liverpool on Saturday, October 26 at 6.15pm.