Sunday’s action in the BBL

RIDERS GROUND OUT WIN IN GLASGOW AS NEWCASTLE KEEP UP THE PRESSURE & LIONS AND WOLVES DO DOUBLE DUTY FOR THE WEEKEND

Sunday 24th February

Leicester Riders recovered from a slow start to defeat Glasgow 76-72 on the road to stay top of the league standings while Newcastle Eagles enjoyed a 90-78 success in Guildford over the Surrey Heat (full report to follow).

Pavol Losonsky led the Riders‘ charge with 22 points, eight rebounds and four assists as Leicester made it EIGHT straight victories whilst ending the winning run of the Rocks. Sterling Davis’ men led 24-15 at the end of the opening quarter but succumbed to the impressive defence of the visitors and Glasgow now drop back to fifth in the table.

The teams were tied at 11 after a sluggish start before Glasgow took control with an 11-2 close over the final three minutes to lead by nine. Gareth Murray sparked a 7-2 burst for the home side with five points in quick succession and the advantage had peaked at THIRTEEN points. However, this time it was the visitors’ turn to put together a run at the end of the quarter as an 11-3 spell helped cut the gap to 41-36 at the break.

When play resumed, the Rocks re-established their double digit lead but were then forced into a baron spell for nearly four minutes as the Riders reduced their arrears to a single point as Zaire Taylor capped a 9-0 run with a triple. Leicester finally took the lead- for the first time since mid-way through the first- on the buzzer as they turned defence into defence with a block from Drew Sullivan at one end transpired into an Anthony Rowe basket at the other.

EJ Harrison completed a three point play early with the first score in the fourth to restore the Rocks‘ advantage but that was to be their last lead of the contest as an 8-2 response from the Riders put them up by six. Spurred on by the Emirates crowd, Glasgow pulled themselves to within a point but crucially missed their final SEVEN shots from the field as Leicester could afford three spurned free throw attempts before Losonsky nailed two successfully to clinch an ELEVENTH straight win in all competitions.

STAT: Leicester have now won their last three league games in Glasgow.

Worcester Wolves capitalised on Surrey‘s loss to leapfrog the Heat in the table and keep alive their top four chances after beating Durham 83-79 on the road. The visitors gained the advantage with a strong spell after the half-time interval before holding off a final quarter fightback from the Wildcats. Alex Owumi led all scorers with 24 points while Mike Baldarelli had 23 for Durham and Andrew Keister contributed a 22p-14r double-double.

STAT: Carlos Fernandez came close to a triple-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds and SEVEN assists in 40 minutes.

London Lions also recorded their second win of the weekend after an 81-64 triumph at home to play-off rivals Manchester. The tip was delayed by 90 minutes as the Giants arrived late due to traffic. The Lions weren’t affected by the wait as they raced into an early 29-17 lead and never looked back. Adrien Sturt had a season-high 31 point haul for the hosts while the visiting Giants were led by a 24p-12r double-double from Ben Eaves, who also fired in four 3-pointers.

In the BBL Trophy, Sheffield opened up a 14 point advantage with a 74-60 victory in Cheshire to take into the second leg of their semi-final clash. A domiant 26-12 third quarter from the Sharks proved the difference as they took a step closer to a first major final since 2011. Mike Tuck was in inspired form for his side and led from the front with a huge 16p-19r double-double while Micah Williams added 16 points to celebrate his birthday with a win.

The finalists will become clear next week as the Sharks and Phoenix meet in the second leg while Leicester and Worcester do battle in successive nights in their semi-final. Mersey look for a first win as they entertain Newcastle while on Sunday, Surrey aim to return to winning ways when they host Cheshire and Glasgow play host to the Wildcats.

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Weekend round-up in the BBL

DOUBLE DUTY FOR LEICESTER & WORCESTER WHILE NEWCASTLE LOSE GROUND IN THE TITLE RACE

Friday 15th February

Cheshire Phoenix pulled off a shock 94-92 victory in Newcastle as the Eagles lost ground in the title race. Chez Marks sealed the win on the buzzer to finish with a game-high 31 points while Jerome Gumbs added a further 28. Charles Smith and Kareem Maddox had a combined 59 points for the hosts as they saw their opponents wipe out a six point deficit late on to triumph. Sheffield continued their push to strenghten their position in the play-off places with a 95-87 win against Manchester. Mike Tuck had a 22-13 double-double for the Sharks as they used a strong second quarter as a platform for victory. The final game on Friday saw Worcester complete an emphatic 119-64 demolition of the Mersey Tigers. The Wolves made 20/33 from 3-PT range and enjoyed 63% from the field. Six players reached double-figures for the home side with Stanley Ocitti top scoring with 18 points while Gael Hulsen had a team-high 15 for the Tigers.

Saturday 16th February

Leicester capitalised on their main rivals’ surprise defeat 24 hours earlier with an 84-59 success at home to Manchester, who fell further behind in the race for the play-offs. The Riders continued to live up to their reputation as the best defensive side in the league by holding the Giants to 16 points and less in each of the four quarters. Drew Sullivan had a game-high 25 points with nine of those coming from the free throw line whilst providing six assists. Ben Eaves had a 15-10 double-double for the visitors but was Manchester‘s only scorer in double figures. Worcester recorded their second victory in as many days but needed two periods of overtime to win 98-91 against London Lions. The visiting Lions overturned an ELEVEN point deficit in the final quarter to force overtime and took the game to a second period of additional time before losing that 12-5. Ocitti top scored for the Wolves again with 22 points, a feat matched by Orlan Jackman for London. The final game saw Plymouth move clear of Surrey with a 91-89 win against the Heat. The Raiders were perfect from the foul line and were led by yet another high-scoring performance from Michael Ojo, who poured in 31 points. Despite having not replaced Martelle McLemore, Surrey competed well and were forced to rely on five main guys to produce big minutes with Sam Cricelli leading the way with a 26 points personal. Matt Schneck sealed the win with a pair of free throws late on to finish with a double-double of 10 points and 16 rebounds.

Sunday 17th February

Newcastle bounced back from their defeat to Cheshire with a 96-79 win in Plymouth although Leicester continued their winning streak with a hard-fought 69-60 success against the team who beat the Eagles on Friday. Smith top scored again with 26 points and 12 rebounds while Maddox also contributed a 20-14 double-double to help Newcastle keep up the pressure on their main rivals. Leicester were restricted to EIGHT second quarter points and a woeful 1/14 from 3-point range but still managed to come out with the win to move clear at the top. A 14-2 run in the final quarter proved pivotal as the Riders made it SEVEN straight wins in the league. Pavol Losonsky led all scorers with a 24 point haul while Jerome Gumbs played the full 40 minutes and posted 16 points to lead the ‘NixSterling Davis led by example with 30 points to guide his Glasgow Rocks side to a 99-73 win in Durham to cement third place in the table with their SEVENTH win in a row.

Check-out the highlights of Newcastle‘s loss at home to Cheshire (BBL):

Sunday round-up in the BBL

RIDERS BACK ON TOP; GLASGOW BREAK INTO TOP 3 & DURHAM BOOST PLAY-OFF CHANCES

Leicester Riders moved back level on points with Newcastle at the top of the table with a 72-51 win at home to the Sheffield Sharks. Drew Sullivan led the way with a game-high 21 points while Olu Babalola had 13 for the visitors, who were restricted to shooting a below-par 32% from the field. Sheffield had an early four point lead but this was cancelled out when Sullivan slammed the ball home to tie the game at 16 at the end of the first. A 7-0 run at the latter stages of the second, consisting of four points from Pavol Losonsky and a three point play from Jamell Anderson, helped the Riders into a 32-28 advantage at the interval. The home side increased their defensive efforts in the second half as they contained the Sharks to just 23 further points to complete a routine victory in a game to be televised on Sky Sports.

Glasgow Rocks made third place their own with a 94-84 victory over Plymouth which secured the head-to-head series against their rivals. The home side did the damage in the second quarter when they outscored their opponents 30-18 and the Raiders struggled to get back in the game. Michael Ojo continued his fine run of form with a 30 point haul but 24 points from Donald Robinson and a further 20 from player-coach Sterling Davis helped the Rocks to their sixth consecutive win. Plymouth did close the gap to five points in the fourth quarter but a baron spell of no points in four minutes proved costly as they now lie in fifth position.

Durham Wildcats joined a host of teams on 16 points after an 89-84 success at home to the London Lions. Keith Page was the star for the hosts with a 29 point haul which included 8/9 from the FT line while Mike Baldarelli and Brad Guinane contributed 19 and 15 points respectively. After a tight first ten minutes, the home side began to establish their authority and a 12-4 burst towards the end of the third gave them a 71-60 advantage to take into the fourth. The lead peaked at 16 points at 80-64 before the visiting Lions roared back into life with a 15-1 tear capped by a Tayo Ogedengbe dunk. Page sealed the win with four free throws down the stretch to give his side their eighth win of the season and hope of making the play-offs.

Here is the current table in the BBL Championship:

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.