Sheffield Sharks upset the odds to win the BBL Championship play-offs with an 84-77 victory against Leicester Riders in front of over 15,000 at the O2, on Sunday. The underdogs produced an excellent fourth period to win the game, with Mike Tuck leading the way with 15 points as Atiba Lyons ended the season with a win. Riders started an even first period well with a Trevon Wright dunk opening the scoring, but Mike Tuck's jumper gave Sharks their first lead of the game at 8-7 and Barndon Hogg made it a six point Sheffield advantage. An intentional foul call of Samual Toluwase allowed Drew Sullivan to score a pair to spark a strong end of the first period for the Riders, and they went into the first break with a 22-18 lead. Tyler Bernardini hit a trey to make it a seven point lead with the first score of the second half before Connor Washington caught fire with three treys for the Riders in the second period. Sharks managed to match Washington from the three point stripe as Kyle Oosister hit a pair from the Land of Plenty and John Barner also scored from downtown to tie the game at 39. Oosister hit a pair from the charity strip to up Sharks up by two heading into the last minute of the half and although Washington tied the game it was Neil Watson who hit a trey to give Sharks a one point half-time lead. Wright and Tuck exchanged baskets to open the second half and Brooks tied the game with a trey, and that set the tone for the third as the teams exchanged buckets for the quarter. A Wright stuff put hit side up by two going into the final 150 seconds of the quarter and that sparked a strong end to the period as a pair of Wright free-throws sent the league champions into the into the final break with a 66-59 lead. Tuck cut that lead with the first score the of last stanza before Barber hit a transition trey to force a time-out from Rob Paternsotro. A massive three rom Bernardini put Riders back up but Brooks put his side up by a point heading into the final three minutes with a floater and before draining a trey to make to 73-71 with on the clock to spark another timeout. Both side cam up short on successive possessions but Brooks hit a long two with 1:40 on the clock to put his side up by four and Wahington missed on a drive to the basket. On the break from Washtington's miss Sharks drove to the basket and Robinson hit a floater to put his side 78-71 ahead with a 61 clicks left and force another Riders timeout. Riders misse on their following offence and were forced to foul Ooister who his both free-throws and although Watson split a pair at the line, the Sharks held on for victory and took the final piece of the 2016 silverware.
Eagles retain BBL Cup after classy comeback - Jan 17, 2016
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle pulled off a remarkable comeback from 14 points down in the third to defeat Leicester Riders 94-82, and retain their BBL Cup title.
Riders looked in the ascendancy when they established a 68-54 lead in the third, but the Eagles rallied to set up a tense finish before powering to victory with a clinical 13-2 close.
Rahmon Fletcher was instrumental for his side, and picked up the MVP award for the second year in a row with 18 points along with four assists.
Defences were expected to be key leading into the anticipated showdown, but both teams found ways to execute on the offensive end in a high scoring opening period with Riders finding most of their success inside to build an early advantage.
Joe Chapman had closed the gap with seven of his 17 points in quick succession, before Charles Smith scored four of the opening six points in the second to fire Newcastle in front.
TrayVonn Wright began to display his athleticism with four dunks on his way to nine points in the quarter, while Conner Washington provided his usual spark from the bench with five points to help Leicester into a double-digit lead at 50-39 before the half.
Eagles had gone 2-of-14 from 3-point range in the first half, and although they shot better from beyond the arc in the third, the Riders matched their opponents and appeared to be pulling away as they opened up a 14-point cushion
However, back came the defending champions and all of a sudden it was a two-point game on the back of a 12-0 run. The comeback was complete in the early stages of the fourth as the Eagles moved ahead with Drew Lasker scoring four points in a 7-0 burst.
Leicester kept it close and were down one with more than three minutes still remaining, but the Eagles showed their mark as champions with a title-winning win.
Newcastle had six different players in double figures as they achieved a fifth consecutive piece of silverware in the BBL, and continued their winning streak this season.
Riders finally claim the BBL Trophy title after holding off Eagles fightback - Feb 27, 2016
It was fifth time lucky for Leicester Riders as they finally got their hands on BBL Trophy silverware with an 85-77 victory against Esh Group Eagles Newcastle, at the Emirates Arena. Riders led by as many as 17 points in the third quarter, and just like they did to win the BBL Cup Final, the Eagles battled back, however this time there would be a different ending. GB captain Andrew Sullivan (203-F-80, college: Villanova, agency: Interperformances) was hugely influential for the Riders, finishing with a game-high 22 points including some crucial baskets in the fourth to earn the MVP award. Tyler Bernardini (198-G-88, college: Pennsylvania) netted nine first quarter points, helping Leicester into a 16-5 lead midway through the opening period, before the Eagles responded with a 10-0 run. The game was tied at 26 early in the second before nine unanswered points saw the Riders regain control, and Conner Washington's basket before the buzzer helped his side go into the half-time break with a 12-point cushion. Wright increased the gap to 17 points with a three to make it 49-32, but the Eagles began to find their range from downtown to mount another resilient fightback. Late in the third, Rahmon Fletcher (177-PG-88, college: Green Bay) connected with two big triples to cut the lead to six, and the momentum remained with the defending champions as they started the final quarter with an 8-2 run. On three occasions, the lead was cut to a single point, but the Riders held firm and extended their advantage to six points, only for Scott Martin (203-G-88, college: Notre Dame, agency: Interperformances) and Joe Chapman (193-G-84, college: Marquette, agency: I.D.S. Law) to connect with back-to-back triples to tie the game at 72. However, Andrew Sullivan replied yet again with another three of his own to put his side back ahead - and this time for good - sparking an 8-0 run as Riders kept their opponents scoreless in a vital spell before closing out the game from the foul line. Fletcher led the Eagles with 18 points, but their quest for a second consecutive clean sweep was ended in Glasgow. Courtesy of: bbl.org.uk
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