Newcastle Eagles joined Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders at the top of the BBL Championship table after a weekend that saw more twists and turns in the battle for honours.
The Eagles overcame Manchester Giants on Friday evening while Riders had a come-from-behind win against UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders on Saturday evening before suffering their first loss of the season with an 81-74 loss at Surrey Heat.
Reigning champions Eagles showed their class to ease past Manchester Giants in the north-east. The experienced trio of Charles Smith, Darius Defoe and Joe Chapman led the scoring for the home team as they cruised to a 96-76 victory, and player-coach Fab Flournoy (pictured) was a happy man after the game:
"We played well against Manchester and our defensive energy in particular was first class. We also shot the ball well but it really starts for us at the defensive end. Kareem [Maddox] really gave us a big lift at the both ends of the floor and we got our usual solid contributions from Joe and Charles. In fact our least effective player on the night was probably me and it is pleasing for us to win a game by 20 points when that happens.
"Manchester again got good scoring from Stefan Gill and Dave Aliu was once again Mr Reliable. I was also impressed with the energy that Ben Eaves brought to the game.
"We have a spare week next week so we will use it to rest up a little albeit we will still be in the gym ensuring that we do not lose that competitive edge. After that it's four consecutive double header weekends before Christmas and some long trips (Plymouth, Worcester, Plymouth, Surrey and London) so we have to make sure we are ready to attack those games.
Riders pulled out an unlikely 83-80 home victory against Raiders after being second best for much of the contest before the class of Great Britain international Drew Sullivan and some excellent play by veteran Yorick Williams saw them overcome a ten point half-time deficit to take their eighth Championship win of the season.
Sunday saw Riders' unbeaten start to the campaign come to an end as Frank Holmes poured in 22 points to lead the Heat to victory as the home team outscored Creon Raftopoulos's side 24-13 in the final period.
Raiders bounced back from Saturday's loss in Leicester as they turned on the style for the Sky TV cameras with a 113-68 demolition of Durham Wildcats. Jeremy Bell led the West Country side with 27 points as they took a grip on the game with a 36-13 second period and never looked back.
London Lions completed their second win of the season against the Wildcats on Friday night as 27 points from Tayo Ogedengbe helped them to a 101-74 victory.
The bottom-of-the-table showdown at Knowsley saw One Health Sharks Sheffield come out 94-67 winners against Mersey Tigers as they recovered from a 42-24 deficit to outscore their hosts 70-25 in the rest of the game. Micah Williams led the scoring for the Sharks with 30 points, while Gage Daye added 28 for Atiba Lyons' team.
Saturday evening had also seen Worcester Wolves collect their sixth win of the campaign as a 30-18 fourth period enabled them to see off the challenge of Cheshire with a 97-84 success.
Finally, Glasgow Rocks moved themselves into sixth position in the BBL Championship table thanks to a come-from-behind 87-73 home victory over London Lions on Sunday lunchtime. Sterling Davis' team trailed at all three quarter breaks before stepping up with a 27-12 final stanza.
Surrey Scorchers (BBL) strengthened their roster with addition of 23-year old American forward Gabe McCray (201-91kg-94, college: South Carolina State). He supposed to play at SC Rasta Vechta in German BBL league. McCray played in the final of MEAC Tournament. He received All-MDJUCO 1st Team award back in 2014 at his college time. McCray graduated from South Carolina State in 2016 and it is his first season in pro basketball. By Eurobasket Data Center Check also Complete Transfers List... [read more]
Surrey Scorchers (BBL) strengthened their roster with addition of 23-year old American forward Gabe McCray (201-91kg-94, college: South Carolina State). He supposed to play at SC Rasta Vechta in German BBL league. McCray played in the final of MEAC Tournament. He received All-MDJUCO 1st Team award back in 2014 at his college time. McCray graduated from South Carolina State in 2016 and it is his first season in pro basketball.
Esh Group Eagles claimed their third consecutive BBL Cup title after defeating Glasgow Rocks 91-83 in front of a large crowd at the Barclaycard Arena. Rahmon Fletcher (177-PG-88, college: Green Bay) netted 29 points and dished out six assists to claim his third successive MVP award with Deondre Parks adding 25 points. The Eagles led by as many as 23 points in the contest and held off a valiant late run from Glasgow to secure another BBL piece of silverware. Neil Watson made a hot start... [read more]
Esh Group Eagles claimed their third consecutive BBL Cup title after defeating Glasgow Rocks 91-83 in front of a large crowd at the Barclaycard Arena.
Rahmon Fletcher (177-PG-88, college: Green Bay) netted 29 points and dished out six assists to claim his third successive MVP award with Deondre Parks adding 25 points.
The Eagles led by as many as 23 points in the contest and held off a valiant late run from Glasgow to secure another BBL piece of silverware.
Neil Watson made a hot start with two triples in a 10-0 start before Fletcher got the Eagles going with seven points to close within a point.
Another triple from Watson followed as the duel continued with both players up to nine points by the end of the first with the Rocks up by one.
The Eagles went on 13-1 run as Fletcher moved to 15 points to help the Eagles open up a nine-point gap.
The advantage doubled as Newcastle closed the half with a 10-0 run including a corner three from Drew Lasker and a pull-up triple from Deondre Parks before the buzzer.
Gareth Murray netted back-to-back 3-pointers early in the third, but the Eagles went on another run to further increase their lead with Scott Martin making it a 20-point game.
Parks ended the third with another triple to make it 72-49 with the Eagles already seemingly out of reach.
However, the Rocks did not give up and mounted a determined late surge with Watson moving to 28 points as the gap was cut to just seven points in the final minute.
The damage had been done and Newcastle were able to celebrate a historic success.
Fab Flournoy equalled a BBL Cup Final record by finishing with five steals in the win to tie Tony Holley's 2005 record.
There were two crucial games in the BBL on Saturday night, with significant wins for Surrey Scorchers and Bristol Flyers. Scorchers made it into the BBL Trophy quarter-finals after winning with a buzzer-beater for the second night in a row. Tayo Ogedengbe(198-F-87) hit 20 points to lead Scorchers in an 88-87 defeat of London Lions at the Copper Box Arena, but it was Will Neighbour who provided the heroics with a tip-in to win the game with one second remaining. Meanwhile, in the BBL Cha... [read more]
There were two crucial games in the BBL on Saturday night, with significant wins for Surrey Scorchers and Bristol Flyers.
Scorchers made it into the BBL Trophy quarter-finals after winning with a buzzer-beater for the second night in a row. Tayo Ogedengbe (198-F-87) hit 20 points to lead Scorchers in an 88-87 defeat of London Lions at the Copper Box Arena, but it was Will Neighbour who provided the heroics with a tip-in to win the game with one second remaining.
Meanwhile, in the BBL Championship, Aaron Cosby's 26 points led Flyers to an 81-73 victory over Worcester Wolves. It means Flyers leapfrog Wolves into the Play-Off places and, crucially, they now hold the head-to-head over their rivals after making it six consecutive wins.
BBL Trophy, First Round London Lions 87 (25,47,57) (Niktash 28, Hassan 24, Williams 16) Surrey Scorchers 88 (18,39,63) (Ogedengbe 20, Margai 15, Popoola 15)
Surrey Scorchers have completed the BBL Trophy quarter-final line-up after winning with a buzzer-beater for the second night in a row, 88-87 against rivals London Lions at the Copper Box Arena. It is a third win in four games for the Scorchers, after Albert Margai's last gasp three-pointer against Manchester Giants in the league on Friday.
And three-pointers proved to be decisive in this game too, after Lions had established a double-digit first half lead at 40-28 when Joe Ikhinmwin was fouled scoring a triple, and Kai Williams added another for the hosts.
But Tayo Ogedengbe - who led the Scorchers with 20 points and 6 rebounds - provided a clue as to what would come when his three-pointer narrowed the deficit just before the half.
Scorchers dominated the third quarter, taking their first lead of the game on Quincy Taylor's reverse lay-up in a run of 17 unanswered points, Ogedengbe adding another five, to go up 56-51.
And that was followed by a three-point barrage to start the fourth quarter. Scorchers took their largest lead when Lekan Popoola, Margai and Taylor all connected to make the score 69-60. Navid Niktash - who led all scorers with 28 points - hit two of his own to keep the hosts close, and the first 15 points of the quarter had come from beyond the arc.
Scorchers looked to have won the game when Popoola and Will Neighbour added two more treys in the space of 17 seconds. But there was more late excitement to come. Niktash made another pair of quick triples and when Alex Owumi added another with 39 seconds to play, the Lions were back to within one at 86-85; before snatching the lead back soon after with a pair of Zaire Taylor free-throws with 20 seconds to play.
But Scorchers, fresh off the memory of the previous night, took the ball to the basket with Quincy Taylor, who teed up Neighbour for the tip in with one second to play. The teams shared 27 three-pointers in the game, including 12 in that final quarter, with Scorchers shooting 52%. Popoola hit 5/7 (71%) for Scorchers, and Williams scored 4/7 for Lions (57%).
Bristol Flyers made it six wins in a row with a decisive 81-73 defeat of the Worcester Wolves in an M5 derby that has developed into somewhat of a rivalry. The win means that Flyers leapfrog the Wolves into the Play-Off spots, sending their visitors down to ninth in the BBL Championship table; it also, crucially, means that Bristol have taken the head-to-head between the two teams.
And they set about their opponents early in this game and led throughout, after Leslee Smith scored ten first quarter points including six in an 11-4 opening. The score reached double-digits early in the second stanza as Aaron Cosby's three-pointer capped a 9-2 run for 31-19.
Wolves had their best spell with a response of 11 unanswered points, started by a Danny Huffor triple and including Marek Klassen twice getting out on the fast break as increased defensive intensity forced turnovers.
But Flyers halted any momentum with the final basket of the half, before Smith hit the first five points after the break to extend the lead back to 44-32; and it reached 55-38 when Hameed Ali and Cosby made consecutive 'and-one' plays.
The game look buried when the lead peaked at 66-47 as Cosby opened the fourth with a three-pointer, but the Flyers had to see off a late Worcester revival.
Another 11-0 run, including five for Andrew Bachman, initially trimmed the deficit to single figures, and they were back to 77-73 with just 42 seconds to play when Huffor scored a pair of three-pointers.
But Cosby and Greg Streete did enough to see the game out from the free-throw line. It is the first time in five meetings that Bristol have beaten Wolves on their home floor, and their current run started after a previous defeat to this opposition and includes another win against them.
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