Wolves knock out defending champions; Rocks, Giants and Lions all win in the league

Worcester Wolves reached the semi-finals of the BBL Trophy after a 94-88 win over last season’s winners Newcastle at Sport Central.

Alex Owumi had 34 points on 7-12 shooting from long range whilst pulling down nine rebounds to help the Wolves set up a last four clash with the Leicester Riders. Charles Smith top scored for an Eagles side without Fab Flournoy and Damon Huffman with 23 points. The teams were tied at 61 heading into the final quarter and when Sherrad Prezzie-Blue fired in a triple to give Worcester the lead, they didn’t look back. Smith made it a one point game with a three-pointer with two minutes to go but Owumi responded in kind with one of his own before nailing four free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.

STAT: This is the first time Worcester have reached the BBL Trophy semi-finals.

Manchester Giants defeated Surrey Heat for the second time at home this season with an 83-70 victory. Steffan Gill was on fire from downtown making 6/7 3-pointers on his way to a game high 28 points. Nick George contributed a further 16 points as he continues to impress with his spell with the Giants. The visiting Heat fell behind early and struggled to get back in the game with a sixth loss for the season putting their title ambitions in jeopardy while Plymouth and Glasgow close in. Julius Joseph had 18 points for Surrey while Frank Holmes had a huge double-double of 16 points and 15 rebounds. Prior to the game, Martelle McLemore was released by Surrey after the American has struggled since returning from injury.

STAT: Surrey have now lost their last four games on the road in the league.

Glasgow Rocks continued their push for a place in the top four with an emphatic 97-58 victory away to the Mersey Tigers. The visitors shot above 50% from the field and were a collective 17/18 from the FT line to draw level on points with Plymouth and Surrey in the standings. Donald Robinson top scored with a game high 20 points while four other players (Harrison, Fantazia, Vanderbeken and Wedemire) all reached double figures. Glasgow only held a seven point lead at the half-time break but a 21-1 run in the third broke the resistance of Mersey, who suffered their 22nd consecutive defeat in the league this season. Phil Wait had a team-high 13 points for the Tigers with Gael Hulsen adding a further 12.

In the final game of the evening, London Lions secured a vital win against their play-off rivals Cheshire to move up to seventh place. Tayo Ogedengbe and Adrien Sturt both top scored with 20 points while Orlan Jackman had 19 for the hosts. The visiting Phoenix were led by 23 point hauls from Chez Marks and Jerome Gumbs. The third quarter proved to pivotal as the Lions outscored their opponents 27-15 to take a 13 point lead into the final quarter. The lead peaked at 20 in the fourth and despite Cheshire‘s late rally it was a comfortable win for the London side.

Newcastle move clear at the top; Plymouth and Glasgow keep the heat on Surrey

Newcastle Eagles eased to a 106-65 victory away to local rivals Durham with Charles Smith producing a scintillating display to help his side move two points clear at the top.

The 37 year-old finished with an incredible stat-line consisting of 49 points, including 8/10 from long range, 16 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals and a block. Joe Chapman joined in the fun with a triple-double (18 points-10 rebounds- 11 assists) to inflict a second defeat on the Wildcats for the weekend.

Newcastle made a blistering start and opened up a 27-point advantage at the end of the first quarter after racking up 40 points. The home side battled back in the second before being outscored again in the second half on their way to a 41 point defeat. Andrew Keister had 11 points and 18 rebounds but Molten BBL Player of the Month for December and January, Ralph Bucci could only manage seven points.

Glasgow left it late to beat the London Lions as EJ Harrison‘s late three helped the Rocks defeat his former side 69-66. The victory helped the hosts maintain the pressure on Plymouth and Surrey as they remain just outside the top four. Orlan Jackman tied the game at 66 with a minute left, to take his points tally to a game high 26, before Harrison struck in the dying seconds.

The visiting Lions were quick out of the blocks and made four triples in an 18-3 close to the opening quarter to lead 29-14. In the second, their lead grew to 19 points before the trio of Andrew Wedemire, Sterling Davis and Harrison combined for a 22-2 tear to put Glasgow ahead. Jordan Spencer responded with a three to give the London side a half-time lead which transpired into a three-point advantage heading into the fourth where the tense finale ensued.

Plymouth moved level on points with third-place after a 100-93 win in Cheshire. Michael Ojo top scored with an impressive 40 point haul to guide the Raiders to victory against the ‘Nix. Chez Marks led his side with 31 points but a second defeat for the weekend results in Cheshire dropping outside the play-off places although they are level on points with London.

This is how Sunday’s action changes the shape of the league standings:

1- NEWCASTLE (17-2) 34pts; 2- LEICESTER (16-2) 32pts; 3- SURREY (14-5) 28pts; 4- PLYMOUTH (14-6) 28pts; 5- GLASGOW (13-8) 26pts; 6- WORCESTER (11-9) 22pts; 7- SHEFFIELD (8-12) 16pts; 8- LONDON (8-14) 16pts; 9- CHESHIRE (8-14) 16pts; 10- MANCHESTER (7-15) 14pts; 11- DURHAM (7-15) 14pts; 12- MERSEY (0-21) 0pts

*See BBL Current Table for a more in-depth look at the league standings.