BRADFORD Dragons fell to their third home defeat on the bounce last Saturday, as they were slain by Team Newcastle University in Division One of the National Basketball League.

In a tightly-fought contest, the Dragons were finally overpowered by Newcastle in the final quarter, the visitors earning an 85-79 win.

The two teams were locked on points in the league table prior to last weekend’s fixture, with both teams holding an identical five wins and seven losses record.

Both knew that this was a key fixture, as the sides jockey for a place in the top eight in order to make the end-of-season play-offs.

A thrilling first quarter saw the lead change hands on multiple occasions, with a late double score by Ethan Rose from the free-throw line following a Newcastle foul seeing both sides reach the buzzer with the scores tied at 21-21.

It remained close throughout the second quarter, and though Bradford never held the lead, they kept in touch, with Newcastle taking a narrow 40-39 advantage into the half-time interval.

The hosts started the second half brightly, taking the first six points through Jordan Whelan (pictured above by Max Lomas), club captain Ricky Fetske and Justin Williams.

Newcastle hit back nicely to edge back in front, but a run of 10 points without reply gave the Dragons a 59-51 lead.

The visitors were up for the fight though, and reached the buzzer just 61-58 behind.

With everything to play for in the final quarter, the lead continuously changed hands.

Whelan gave Bradford a 79-78 lead from the free throw line with just under two minutes to go, but then it all went wrong for the hosts, as a series of sloppy and unnecessary turnovers allowed Newcastle to register the next two scores.

With 38 seconds left on the clock, the game was still finely balanced at 79-81, but a further turnover put paid to Bradford’s chances.

Whelan was the top scorer for the Dragons, with 20 points. The Calderdale College Player of the Game Award went to Fetske, who registered a double-double with 15 points and 16 rebounds.

Bradford continue their long run of home fixtures tomorrow evening, when Team Solent Kestrels make the long trip up to West Yorkshire.

Tip-off is at the usual time of 6:15pm and discounted tickets can be purchased in advance via the Dragons' club website.