There were dramatic second half swings in both of Friday night's BBL Championship games, with the Newcastle Eagles and Manchester Giants prevailing to maintain their respective unbeaten starts to the season.
The Eagles saw off a fourth quarter fightback from the Worcester Wolves to win 81-73 in the North East and record three straight wins to start the season. Darrius Defoe (204-F-84) led the hosts with 26 points and 8 rebounds, while Joe Chapman (193-G-84, agency: I.D.S. Law, college: Marquette) scored 17 points and dished out 9 assists.
The Eagles established a double-digit lead in the first quarter as Defoe scored 9 points and they led 27-15 after the opening ten minutes. They maintained that lead for much of the first three quarters and Defoe put them up at 58-41 in the third. But the Wolves came back from there, finishing the period 9-2 with triples from Stuart Thomson (198-G-88, agency: JEMsports, college: Catawba) and Stanley Ocitti (203-F/C-80, college: Binghamton).
The late scare came when that run continued to become an 18-point swing. The Wolves shocked their hosts with a 13-0 surge in the fourth quarter as consecutive triples from Ocitti, Owumi and Stuart Thomson got them back to within one point at 64-63. And the comeback was complete soon after as a pair of Kaslauskas free-throws gave them a lead that no one could have expected only minutes previously, and their first lead of the game.
The Eagles tied through Defoe and the teams were then tied at 67 and 69 before a crucial Charles Smith three-pointer gave the hosts the edge, and they would not let that lead go again. Damon Huffman (186-PG-85) added another triple and Defoe epitomised his night with an old-fashioned three-point play that made the score 78-71 with two minutes to play, and there was no way back for the Wolves.
Elsewhere, a classic old BBL rivalry was renewed as the One Health Sharks Sheffield crossed the Pennines to meet the Manchester Giants, with the Giants triumphing by 99-87 after a storming second half comeback. James Jones (193-G/F-83, college: Whitworth) had 27 points and 6 assists, with his 12 third quarter points proving crucial; David Watts (206-F-83) added 20 points and 7 rebounds. Gage Daye (188-G-89, college: Bloomfield) led all scorers with 30 points in vain for the Sharks.
The Sharks used a 16-3 first quarter tear to lead 20-30 and led by as much as 22-37 in the second period and 42-52 in the third. But from there three Jones three-pointers sparked the comeback as the Giants rattled off 18 straight points in what became a 20 point swing in just eight minutes as they established a 72-62 lead of their own. By the time Micah Williams (193-G/F-88, college: E.Tenn.St.) scored a three-pointer for the Sharks, they had gone scoreless for five minutes and trailed 72-65 going into the fourth quarter.
The Sharks did score the first two baskets after the break but James Jones was there again for the Giants with a three-pointer, and he scored again before Watts hit a triple and Gill and Aliu scored to see their lead peak at 85-71. And from there, still with five minutes to play, the game was settled.
Matchroom Sport launch new British Basketball All-Stars Championship at The 02 - 14 hours ago
Barry Hearn's Matchroom Sport, in partnership with the British Basketball League, have announced the British Basketball All-Stars Championship to take place at The O2, London on Sunday, September 24, live on Sky Sports. Hearn enters the fray in basketball introducing a new, entertaining take on the fast-paced game with a record-breaking 100,000 prize fund. Five players per team will take to the court in shorter-timed matches and other exciting innovations. The tournament will showcase t... [read more]
Barry Hearn's Matchroom Sport, in partnership with the British Basketball League, have announced the British Basketball All-Stars Championship to take place at The O2, London on Sunday, September 24, live on Sky Sports.
Hearn enters the fray in basketball introducing a new, entertaining take on the fast-paced game with a record-breaking 100,000 prize fund. Five players per team will take to the court in shorter-timed matches and other exciting innovations.
The tournament will showcase the best of British basketball talent on a grand stage at The O2 in front of the live Sky Sports cameras and will follow another new event launched by Hearn - the British Fast5 All-Stars Championship netball which will take place at The O2 on Saturday, September 23.
Matchroom Sport Chairman Barry Hearn said: "The popularity of basketball and netball is at an all-time high right now. We want to bring this right to the fore with a massive weekend at The O2. We're bringing fast-paced and exciting formats to generate non-stop action and two unmissable events.
"It's also about encouraging participation. Both sports are continuing to grow at a rapid rate and for that to continue we must encourage people young and old to get out there and try these exciting sports. We want to help with this by bringing both basketball and netball centre-stage for one huge weekend in London.
"By combining the expertise of Matchroom and Sky Sports with those of the British Basketball League we know that we are embarking on something special."
BBL Commercial Director Bob Hope added, "Having an exciting new event and especially one being organised by a company as highly respected around the globe as Matchroom, is yet more evidence of how the popularity and profile of basketball continues to grow."
Head of Sky Sports Multisport, Georgina Faulkner, said: "The creation of the British All-Stars competitions provides a fantastic opportunity to showcase the very best of British netball and basketball. Everyone involved will hope the tournaments can inspire a new generation to pick up a ball and encourage more women and men to get back on the court."
Matchroom Sport are the world-renowned sports promotional company behind PDC darts, World Snooker and has a wide stable of boxing talent including World champions such as Anthony Joshua, Kell Brook and Tony Bellew. The company has over 30 years of experience in sports promotion and currently operates across 11 sports, most recently adding the World Cup of Gymnastics to its expanding portfolio.
Tickets for the British Basketball All-Stars Championship will be available from www.theo2.co.uk and start from just 20 with group tickets available priced from 60 for four adults. VIP Courtside tickets are available for 150 via www.allstarsbasketball.co.uk
Tickets go on sale to BBL members at 9am on Monday, April 3 followed by an O2 Priority sale on Wednesday, April 5 and a venue pre-sale on Thursday, April 6. General sale commences at 9am on Friday, April 7.
With a packed weekend of BBL action, our line-up has barely had as much competition for a starting berth - here's who survived the cut. Brandon Clark (Leicester Riders) After slipping up against Wolves last Friday, the Riders' guard helped his team return to winning ways with a brilliant effort against Glasgow Rocks. Clark was the main architect of the victory with a stellar 9 of 11 from the field which returned 23 points. He also added six assists and three rebounds for good measure.... [read more]
With a packed weekend of BBL action, our line-up has barely had as much competition for a starting berth - here's who survived the cut.
Brandon Clark (Leicester Riders) After slipping up against Wolves last Friday, the Riders' guard helped his team return to winning ways with a brilliant effort against Glasgow Rocks. Clark was the main architect of the victory with a stellar 9 of 11 from the field which returned 23 points. He also added six assists and three rebounds for good measure.
Danny Huffor (Worcester Wolves) Worcester Wolves showed how dangerous they could be down the season stretch after outlasting Riders on their home court and much of their best work was down to Huffor. He also held the hot-hand and dropped a wonderful 9 of 12 from the floor, including 4 of 5 downtown, as he came up with a precious 24 points.
Dii'Jon Allen-Jordan (Cheshire Phoenix) They may have arrived late in the capital, but Cheshire made their wait worthwhile as they pipped Lions in an overtime thriller. While Mike DiNunno got the plaudits for his game-winning shot, it was Allen-Jordan who provided the foundation for victory. He had 25 points from 75% shooting and also pulled down seven big boards.
Tayo Ogedengbe (Surrey Scorchers) The captain of Scorchers was instrumental in his team completing a successful south-west raid as Ogedengbe lit it up at the WISE Arena. The forward was on fire and torched Bristol Flyers with a 26-point haul, while also completed a great line by adding seven rebounds and handing our four assists in a fine road win.
Cory Dixon (201-F-90, college: New Orleans) (Plymouth Raiders) The forward was the main source of south-west derby joy for Raiders as they put their BBL Trophy Final nightmare behind them by beating Bristol on BBC Sport. Dixon was a real handful for Flyers and produced the best performance of the weekend in the BBL by harvesting a double-double of 32 points and 11 rebounds, as well as three assists and two steals.
Off the bench - Jermel Kennedy (Worcester Wolves), Kieron Achara (Glasgow Rocks), Tony Wroblicky (DBL Sharks Sheffield), Quincy Taylor (Surrey Scorchers), Rashad Hassan (London Lions), Pierre Hampton (Leicester Riders), Maurice Walker (Worcester Wolves).
Four of the top six all secured victories on an action-packed Sunday in the BBL. Leicester Riders bounced back from their first loss in 17 on Friday with a 93-84 victory against Glasgow Rocks with Brandon Clark netting 23 points. The Rocks dropped to fourth as DBL Sharks Sheffield mounted a fourth-quarter charge to beat Surrey Scorchers 78-86 and move up a place. Meanwhile, Worcester Wolves continued their winning run as they defeated Cheshire Phoenix 91-103 in overtime with Maurice Wa... [read more]
Four of the top six all secured victories on an action-packed Sunday in the BBL.
Leicester Riders bounced back from their first loss in 17 on Friday with a 93-84 victory against Glasgow Rocks with Brandon Clark netting 23 points.
The Rocks dropped to fourth as DBL Sharks Sheffield mounted a fourth-quarter charge to beat Surrey Scorchers 78-86 and move up a place.
Meanwhile, Worcester Wolves continued their winning run as they defeated Cheshire Phoenix 91-103 in overtime with Maurice Walker scoring 22 points in the win.
London Lions were another team to split a weekend double-header as they recorded an 88-96 win away at Manchester Giants with Zaire Taylor (193-G-86, college: Missouri) and Rashad Hassan combining for 43 points. BBL Championship Leicester Riders 93 (23,45,75) (Clark 23, Hampton 22, King 16) Glasgow Rocks 84 (17,44,57) (Watson 24, Achara 23, Lescault 17)
Leicester Riders returned to winning ways with a 93-84 victory over Glasgow Rocks at Leicester Arena, on Sunday.
The Riders paraded their recent BBL Trophy title pre-game and have their sights firmly set on further adding to their trophy cabinet after restoring a four-point lead at the top of the table.
Brandon Clark made his first six shots from the field on his way to 23 points with Pierre Hampton and Taylor King adding 22 and 16 points respectively.
The home side set the tone with an 11-2 start, but the Rocks settled and closed the first with back-to-back triples. Glasgow took their first lead in the second as Neil Watson scored five straight points against his former side.
Drew Sullivan's three-point play edged the Riders back ahead at the half and they produced a dominant third period, outscoring their opponents 30-13 including a 14-0 run.
Glasgow started the fourth on an 8-0 run to close within 10, but the Riders held firm and closed out their 22nd league win of the season.
Watson had 24 points with Kieron Achara adding 23 points and 12 rebounds with the Rocks now dropping into fourth spot.
Worcester Wolves dominated the extra period to claim a 91-103 overtime success against Cheshire Phoenix in a battle between two of the most in-form teams in the league.
The game was tied at 88 at the end of regulation, but the visitors stepped up with six points from Trevor Setty to help his side record their eighth consecutive win.
Maurice Walker netted 22 points on 10-of-11 shooting, while Setty and Jermel Kennedy added 16 points apiece with seven players in total reaching double figures.
Both sides made strong starts, but it was a 10-0 run that saw Cheshire pull away in the opening period. The home side carried that into the second and went into half-time with a double-digit lead at 53-42.
Worcester tightened things up on the defensive end in the third as they held their opponents to 14 points and moved ahead off the back of a 13-3 spell before Cheshire edged back in front.
The lead changed hands throughout the fourth and Mike DiNunno had the chance of a second game-winner of the weekend but his 3-point attempt was swatted into the first row by Kennedy as overtime ensued.
Wolves made their move and a 15-1 run secured the victory as they close on the top four with their 15-12 record.
Earl Brown scored a game-high 25 points in vain for Phoenix as their win streak ends with the Play-Offs beginning to look out of reach.
BBL Championship Manchester Giants 88 (18,36,67) (Trobo 18, Toluwase/Jones 17) London Lions 96 (28,52,70) (Taylor 22, Hassan 21, Wells 12)
London Lions bounced back from Friday's agonising loss with an 88-96 win on the road away at Manchester Giants.
Zaire Taylor and Rashad Hassan combined for 43 points in the win as the Lions consolidated their place in the top eight with a 14-12 record.
The Lions also had three other players in double figures in a balanced attack with GB's Zak Wells going 6-of-7 from the field for 12 bench points.
The visitors set the tone with a 13-4 start to take early control and they led by 10 at the end of the first period. Yorick Williams fouled out in the second and saw his team go on to trail by 16 heading into half-time.
However, the Giants came out firing in the third and made six triples in the period including a trio from Harold Trobo as they closed the gap to a single point at 67-68.
Taylor scored the final points of the third and the Lions used an 11-2 run to restore their double-digit advantage and managed to keep Manchester at bay to secure the win.
Trobo had 18 for the Giants as their valiant fightback came up short and they now have a 4-24 record.
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