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.