BRADFORD Dragons clinched a pivotal 80-79 home victory on Saturday afternoon against Loughborough Riders in Division One of the National Basketball League.

The Dragons improved to 5-3 in the league after the hard-fought win, courtesy of some fourth quarter heroics from Andreas Lycoudis.

In the second meeting between the teams this season, the Dragons were looking to gain revenge after the Riders knocked them out of the L Lynch Trophy last month.

Ricky Fetske and Great Osobor were the dominant pairing for Bradford early on at the weekend, as the sides went in level at 17-17 after the first quarter.

A superb second quarter from the Dragons blew the game wide open. The hosts started the second period with a 10-2 run as Fetske, Osobor, Uche Umekwe and Billy Cousins all scored.

After Loughborough steadied the ship slightly, a 15-3 run from Bradford saw their lead balloon to 18 points.

With young debutant Elijah Walsh getting in on the act, the Dragons led 45-30 heading into the interval.

But the Riders roared out of the blocks in the third quarter to narrow the gap to four points, and heading into the final 10 minutes, Bradford led by just three (60-57).

The Dragons only led 69-68 with less than four minutes left to play in the game, before Lycoudis stepped up to strike the significant blow in the contest, knocking down three straight triples to give the hosts a commanding 78-70 lead.

The Riders were still down by four in the dying moments, but a silly foul with less than a second left allowed the visitors to score three free-throws.

There was no time left for them to net another basket to win it though.

Coach Chris Mellor pointed to the Dragons' resilience down the stretch, saying: “We finished the first half strongly with a decent second quarter, but they outplayed us in the third.

“We regrouped again for the final 10 minutes, and we got the stops and made plays to close it out.”

The home side's hero, Lycoudis, said: “Personally, it was a tough shooting night for me until the fourth, but I knew they’d fall eventually.

“The team got me some great looks, and I was able to convert them.”

Touching on the importance of the victory for the Dragons, Lycoudis added: “It was a great team victory, won on the defensive end.

“Although we let a 15-point half time lead slip, we kept positive, aggressive, and stuck to our defensive principles.

“It felt great to snap the (three-game) losing streak and get back to winning ways.”

Next up for the Dragons is a home league game against Worthing Thunder this Saturday, with tip-off at 2pm.