BRADFORD Dragons are bottom of the National Basketball League First Division on the back of an 80-61 home defeat against Essex Leopards, last season's champions.

The visitors started well, going six points clear but it took a three-pointer close to the buzzer from former Dragons stalwart Tom Martin to give the Leopards an 18-17 advantage at the end of the first period.

Scoring in the second quarter proved difficult but a mini surge brought the Dragons back up to 33-31 behind with three minutes to go, forcing an Essex time-out.

They then employed a full-court press which gained them several turnovers, handing them a 42-35 half-time lead.

With the hosts finding it difficult to score from the perimeter, the Leopards stretched their advantage to

In the third quarter, with Dragons unable to score from the perimeter against a tough Essex defence, the visitors stretched their advantage to 58-46 as the Dragons' power forward Nick Moore fouled out.

Things didn't improve on that front in the final quarter as fellow big men Ricky Fetske and Przemyslaw Wojcik fouled out, with Essex easing home against the undersized hosts.

Henri Bongoma and Jermayne Laing both scored 11 points for Dragons, Martin leading the way for the visitors with 12.

Dragons' coach Chris Mellor said: "We had 25 turnovers, four guys fouled out and we shot the ball poorly.

"Our defence wasn't bad for three quarters but offensively 61 is not going to win us many games, and that's where we will focus our efforts this week."

Dragons are at Team Northumbria on Saturday before returning the Dragons' Den on Saturday, November against fellow strugglers Westminster Warriors (6.15pm), with both sides desperate for a win.