British Basketball League round up (week 8)

This past weekend’s round up of the BBL saw another change at the top of the table and the BBL Cup semi-finalists confirmed.

Friday

Friday night in the BBL Championship saw three of the top five in action, and a fourth was supposed to be but the game between Worcester Wolves and Surrey United was called off. By the end of the night there were four teams tied for second place after wins for London Lions and Esh Group Eagles Newcastle; both victors taking a share of second and bunching it right up at the top of the table, with all of the top five on 14 points.

The Lions prevented One Health Sharks Sheffield going top of the BBL Championship in their own right, as they beat them 78-55 at the Copper Box to avenge a BBL Cup defeat earlier in the month. That was a fifth straight win for the Lions and condemned the Sharks to their first defeat in five, as Rod Brown scored 18 points and Kramer Knutson terrorised the visitors on the inside with 16 points and 13 rebounds.

The Lions led by double-figures, 42-31, at half time as the Sharks struggled to get the ball inside against London’s bigs, with only six points in the paint and a field goal accuracy of just 25%. They did open the second half with a 10-3 push, but Brown was there to halt it and, after Sheffield missed consecutive three-pointers, former Shark Perry Lawson connected on one of his own for the hosts, to spur them on to their win. Sheffield weren’t allowed to recapture any momentum as London saw the game out, thanks in no small part to a fourth quarter lock down as they didn’t allow their visitors to score for the first six minutes of the fourth.

In the North East, Esh Group Eagles Newcastle scored more than 100 points for the fifth time this season as they swept aside Manchester Giants by 103-51, remaining unbeaten at home. Scott Martin dominated the Giants on the inside as he had 21 points and 12 rebounds to pace all scorers, with Darius Defoe adding 19 and Charles Smith scoring all 16 of his in the first half. The Giants, who are yet to win on the road this campaign, committed 25 turnovers and shot just 11% from three-point range.

Newcastle finished the first quarter with a 10-4 surge and scored 15 unanswered points – including six for Smith – in the second quarter to ensure that they were never in sight. They went through the century mark with two minutes to play on Paul Gause’s ‘and-one’ play.

Saturday

Worcester Wolves secured a significant victory over Leicester Riders to go top of the BBL Championship on Saturday night.

Not only did the Wolves 69-62 win end Leicester’s home unbeaten streak since February 2012 but it also gave Paul James’ team the season series over the Riders.

A 10-0 run to start the fourth quarter did the damage for the visitors who kept Leicester at arm’s length the rest of the way.

Durham Wildcats won their mid-table battle with Glasgow Rocks to even their record at four wins and four defeats.

Ralph Bucci was the key man for the Wildcats with 15 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds in the 85-72 victory. Daniel Northern led all-scorers for Rocks with 25 points.

Sunday

Plymouth University Raiders, Cheshire Phoenix and Manchester Giants all celebrated victories in the British Basketball League (BBL) Championship on Sunday evening, while Esh Group Eagles Newcastle advanced to the BBL Cup semi-final after defeating Glasgow Rocks 81-69 on the road in Scotland.

Raiders improved to 6-4 after blasting past the winless Birmingham Knights 119-72 in a high-scoring game, as Donald Robinson led the team to victory with 27 points.

Reggie Middleton and Victor Moses scored 22 points each for Phoenix who earned the third victory of the season, outlasting the visiting Durham Wildcats 75-68 in the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, Giants did not have any trouble against Surrey United, easing to a 102-60 victory at home in Manchester.