The BBL Cup competition got underway on Friday evening with the first of the opening round matches and it was the Marshall MK Lions who came out on top to book their place in the quarter-finals thanks to a closely-fought 79-75 victory over the Guildford Heat at the Bletchley Leisure Centre on Friday evening.
The game was close throughout and the Lions had led 50-35 at the half, but the Heat got themselves back into the game by outscoring their hosts 26-9 in the third period to lead 59-61 going into the final stanza. In the final period, the lead changed hands on a number of occasions before the Lions opened up a five-point advantage at 77-72 going into the closing stages.
A Julius Joseph three-pointer trimmed the deficit to just two points at 77-75, and it was left to Dru Spinks to secure the victory and the quarter-final berth from the foul-line for the Lions.
The Lions will now meet the winners of the first round match-up between the Airwaves Plymouth Raiders and PAWS London Capital that takes place tomorrow evening.
In BBL Championship action, the Sheffield Sharks remained on top of the Championship table thanks to an 85-75 victory over the Glasgow Rocks at the EIS, Sheffield. The Sharks led 59-58 at the end of the third period before a Mike Cook three-pointer instigated a 9- 3 start to the final stanza to take the score out to 68-61.
The Rocks got themselves back into the game and trimmed the deficit to four points at 70-66, but a 10-3 response from the home side took the score out to 80- 69 and the Sharks held on for the victory.
Sheffield Sharks 85-75 Glasgow Rocks
Sheffield Sharks 85 (15,42,59) (Cook 22, Cauthorn/Patton 15)
Glasgow Rocks 75 (17,38,58) (Copeland 20, Davis 17, Sapp 11)
Sheffield Sharks kept themselves on top of the BBL Championship table thanks to a hard-fought 85-75 victory over the Glasgow Rocks at the EIS, Sheffield on Friday evening. A tight opening quarter saw both sides trading baskets throughout the majority of the quarter, but it was Jessie Sapp's three-pointer at the end of the period that proved the difference between the two sides as the Rocks held a slender two-point lead at 15-17 at the end of the opening ten minutes of basketball. The second quarter saw the Rocks continue to hold their slender advantage, but six points in quick succession from Sheffield's Todd Cauthorn (pictured) gave the Sharks the lead at 26-24. The home side held their advantage for the remainder of the period, and despite the visitors netting five of the final eight points in the half, the Sharks led 42-38 at the half. In the second half the visitors tied the game up at 45-45 off the back of a 7-3 start to the half, but a 6-0 response from the Sharks gave them the lead back at 51-45 before the Rocks tied the game once again at 55-55. The Sharks bagged the next four points to lead 59-55, but a three-point-play from Rocks player/coach Sterling Davis trimmed the deficit to just a single point at 59-58 going into the final stanza. In the final period, a Mike Cook three-pointer instigated a 9-3 tear for the Sharks to take the score out 68-61. The Rocks got the deficit back to just four points at 70-66, but the Sharks broke the game open with a 10-3 burst to take the score out to 80-69 with 2:03 remaining in the game. The Rocks tried valiantly to get themselves back into the game, but they could not find a way past some stout Sharks defence and the home side ran out eventual winners. Mike Cook led all scorers with 22 points for the Sharks while Mike Copeland led the scoring for the Rocks with 20 points personal.
BBL Championship Table
P W L Pts
1 Sheffield Sharks 6 5 1 10
2 Newcastle Eagles 3 3 0 6
3 Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders 4 3 1 6
4 Cheshire Jets 5 3 2 6
5 Guildford Heat 3 2 1 4
6= Marshall MK Lions 4 2 2 4
6= Worthing Thunder 4 2 2 4
8 Glasgow Rocks 5 2 3 4
9 Everton Tigers 2 1 1 2
10 Essex Pirates 3 1 2 2
11 Airwaves Plymouth Raiders 2 0 2 0
12 PAWS London Capital 3 0 3 0
13 Worcester Wolves 4 0 4 0
Marshall MK Lions 79-75 Guildford Heat
Marshall MK Lions 79 (25,50,59) (Harrison 26, Williams 17, Morris 15)
Guildford Heat 75 (19,35,61) (Martin 20, Joseph 15, Langhorne 12)
Marshall MK Lions moved themselves into the quarter- finals of the BBL Cup thanks to a thrilling 79-75 victory over the Guildford Heat at the Bletchley Leisure Centre on Friday evening. The Lions must now wait until Saturday evening to find out to find out who their opponents are as they play the winners from the game between Airwaves Plymouth Raiders and PAWS London Capital. Frank Holmes opened the scoring with the first six points of the game for the Lions whilst EJ Harrison and Yorick Williams bagged a couple of three-pointers to take the Lions into an early 15-10 lead. The Lions maintained their lead throughout the opening period and led 25-19 at the end of the first quarter. In the second period the home side continued to stretch away from their visitors and further three-pointers from Harrison and five points from Williams to close out the half took the Lions into a comfortable fifteen point lead at 50-35 going into the locker rooms at the half. In the second half the visitors exploded out of the blocks and dominated the third period. A 6-0 opening to the quarter for the visitors was followed up by two separate 9-2 bursts to give the Heat the lead at 55-59 heading into the closing stages of the third quarter. The Heat held their advantage for the remainder of the period and led 59- 61 going into the final stanza. In the final period the Lions came out strongly at the start of the quarter and it was again down to Williams and Harrison to help the Lions regain the lead at 65-61. The lead changed hands on several occasions throughout the remainder of the period before the home side pulled out a five-point lead at 77-72 heading into the final minute of the game. A three-pointer from Julius Joseph inside the final minute trimmed the deficit back to 77-75, but the Lions held on for the victory as Dru Spinks secured their place in the quarter-finals of the BBL Cup from the foul-line. Harrison (pictured) led all scorers in the game with 26 points for the Lions whilst Mike Martin led the scoring for the Heat with 20 points personal.