CAPTAIN Carl Josey helped Essex Leopards shine on and off the court during an exciting weekend of action.

Josey bagged a season-high 26 points to help the Big Cats see off Bristol Academy Flyers 78-73 at the Brentwood Centre on Sunday.

And that came the day after Josey and Leopards team-mate Howard Crawford had appeared on BT Sport to help publicise the channel’s coverage of NBA UK game between Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets at the O2 Arena this Thursday.

“It was all a bit random and we didn’t get much notice but it was great to go on there and give Leopards a bit of publicity,” said Josey.

“We were on with Matt Dawson and Tim Lovejoy, which was good fun, and it was great to follow it up with a win against Bristol the next day.

“It’s important we beat the teams below us in the table in the games we have coming up so it was a good win, especially after splitting our matches last weekend.”

Josey’s 26 points included five three-pointers and he also managed 11 rebounds.

Crawford finished with eight boards to go with his 22 points, while Kris Clark had a 12-point, 11-assist double-double.

Despite their fine form, Leopards trailed 20-16 at the first break, and although a Courtney Van Beest basket saw them pull within a point midway through the second quarter, Flyers took a 38-31 lead into the locker room at half-time.

However, Leopards outscored Bristol 29-12 in the third quarter and were able to stay in front during the final 10 minutes.

The win pushed Leopards up to third in the English Basketball League Division One standings ahead of their 14 remaining games.

And, Josey is confident the Big Cats can continue to climb up the table.

“We need to take it game by game but we know what we’re capable of when we’re on form and it’s important we stay focused now,” he added.

Josey and the Leopards face a quick rematch against Bristol in the West Country on Saturday before they host British Basketball League giants Newcastle Eagles in the BBL Cup at the Brentwood Centre on Sunday, tip-off 4pm.