There are three debutantes this week, including a Great Britain Olympian and a Riders backcourt duo.
Zaire Taylor (Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders) The rookie Riders guard has been gradually growing in influence since he arrived in British Basketball back in September. During the first few months of the campaign, the likes of John Fraley, Drew Sullivan, Jay Couisnard and Pavol Lasonsky have generally taken the limelight, but Taylor has found recognition for his input by way of a debut BBL Team Of The Week appearance. It was made possible due to his efforts in a hard fought win at Manchester Giants when despite having difficulty in getting his perimeter game going, he excelled to great effect in other areas. He finished with 23 points thanks to making the most of getting to the hoop and also sinking a perfect eight of eight free-throws. Taylor also added a fabulous seven assists, four rebounds and two steals.
Connor Washington (Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders) Its a Riders double in our backcourt this week as Connor Washington also grabs his first BBL Team Of The Week appearance courtesy of a magnificent eye-popping, three-point shooting display against Mersey Tigers. He was on absolute fire from downtown as he found the hot-hand to make seven triples from eleven attempts which left the shell-shocked visitors trailing in Riders wake. That helped Washington to accumulate 24 points and a great night of work was underlined when he also handed out five assists, grabbed three rebounds and harvested two steals to wrap up a convincing victory for the home team and extend their lead at the top of the BBL Championship.
Colin OReilly (UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders) Not for the first time this season, Colin OReilly posted the best performance of the weekend. Although after losing to Glasgow Rocks on Saturday night, it will probably have tasted slightly bitter-sweet for the Irish forward who provided the inspiration for his team to bounce straight back with a success against London Lions on Sunday. His display was typically influential in so many facets of the game, pouring in a massive 29 points including three scores from long-range, pulling down six rebounds, dishing up five assists and coming up with a block as he secured a third appearance of the season in our line-up.
Kieron Achara (Glasgow Rocks) Yes, Great Britain forward Kieron Achara finally makes it into our a starting five although the fact he hasnt made it until now reflects his willingness and desire to play for the team which has been every bit as important and influential as any individual numbers. But, as he showed last weekend when Rocks achieved a magnificent win double on the road, he is capable of stepping up when required, and posting dominant displays. He was excellent in the win at Surrey Heat, but even better 24 hours earlier against UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders. He put his opponent to the sword with a sublime 23 points, not missing a single shot inside and dropping three triples to go with six rebounds and a block.
Alif Bland (Cheshire) The centre secures impressive consecutive BBL Team Of The Week appearances after playing his part in a quite thrilling victory in the north-west derby against Manchester Giants. Whilst Chez Marks grabbed the plaudits for his buzzer beating three-pointer which sent the Cheshire fans at Northgate into raptures, it was the rock solid contribution of Bland which laid the foundation for the win. He recorded a fine double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds, but it was four precious defensive stops in the shape of three blocked shots and a steal which really mattered in such an intense and close contest which provided an immeasurable morale boost to everyone at the club.
Off The Bench: Chez Marks (Cheshire), EJ Harrison (Glasgow Rocks), Drew Sullivan (Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders), Matt Schneck (UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders), Stefan Gill (Manchester Giants), Orlan Jackman (London Lions), Chavis Holmes (Surrey Heat)
The BBL Play-Offs got underway in dramatic fashion on Friday night including a rare draw. Surrey Scorchers earned a 73-73 draw with Leicester Riders as Gabe McCray connected with a three at the buzzer to leave the tie evenly poised. Meanwhile, Esh Group Eagles Newcastle defeated Bristol Flyers 94-97 away from home as Hameed Ali netted 30 points to lead a Flyers comeback from 33 points down. London Lions beat Glasgow Rocks 91-70 after overturning a half-time deficit, while Worcester Wol... [read more]
The BBL Play-Offs got underway in dramatic fashion on Friday night including a rare draw.
Surrey Scorchers earned a 73-73 draw with Leicester Riders as Gabe McCray connected with a three at the buzzer to leave the tie evenly poised.
Meanwhile, Esh Group Eagles Newcastle defeated Bristol Flyers 94-97 away from home as Hameed Ali netted 30 points to lead a Flyers comeback from 33 points down.
London Lions beat Glasgow Rocks 91-70 after overturning a half-time deficit, while Worcester Wolves edged past DBL Sharks Sheffield 71-73 on the road with 25 points from Danny Huffor.
Worcester Wolves will take a slender advantage back home after recording a 71-73 victory on the road at DBL Sharks Sheffield.
The Sharks battled back from 17 points down to tie the game in the final minute, but a pair of free throws from Danny Huffor proved the difference.
Huffor ended up with a game-high 25 points in the win with Trevor Setty the only other player in double figures for the Wolves with 15 points.
An 8-2 close gave the Wolves an eight-point lead after 10 minutes and they pushed further clear in the second to open up a 14-point advantage at half-time.
Sheffield began to eat away at the deficit in the third with a 21-15 quarter and tied the game at 61 on a three from Rashawn Rembert.
The game would be level again at 71 with 90 seconds remaining before Huffor sealed the win for the visitors to take a two-point lead back to the University of Worcester Arena.
Rembert had a team-high 20 points for the Sharks with Mike Tuck adding 15 points in the defeat.
BBL Play-Offs, Quarter-Finals, First Leg Surrey Scorchers 73 (12,32,52) (Ogedengbe 22, Taylor 11, McCray 10) Leicester Riders 73 (13,31,50) (Clark 21, King 13, Hampton 12)
Gabe McCray's heroics at the buzzer salvaged a 73-73 draw for Surrey Scorchers to take into the second leg against Leicester Riders.
The hosts had led 59-52 in the fourth before the league champions rallied and looked set to come away with the win, only for McCray to strike late.
Tayo Ogedengbe top scored with a game-high 22 points for the eighth seeds with Quincy Taylor adding 11 points and six assists.
As for the Riders, Brandon Clark had 21 points with Taylor King handing out five assists to go with his 13 points.
A low-scoring opening period saw the Riders edge ahead by a single point before Surrey hit back to take a one-point lead of their own into the half.
The lead doubled following another competitive period before a 7-0 run put the Scorchers in control, but the Riders responded with an 11-2 run to set up an exciting finish.
Clark split a pair of free throws to give Leicester a 70-73 advantage in the final seconds before McCray got his off-balance three to fall at the buzzer with the tie evenly poised heading into Sunday's second leg.
BBL Play-Offs, Quarter-Finals, First Leg Bristol Flyers 94 (9,35,53) (Ali 30, Boggs 22, Streete 15) Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 97 (30,53,77) (Fletcher 31, Jackman 23, Defoe 14)
Bristol Flyers kept their hopes of advancing alive after rallying from a 33-point deficit before losing the first leg 94-97 at home to Esh Group Eagles Newcastle.
The visitors looked in complete control with a dominant 18-51 advantage, but the Flyers came storming back in the second half to close to within three for the second leg.
Rahmon Fletcher netted a game-high 31 points in the win for the Eagles with Orlan Jackman adding a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds.
The second seeds wasted little time in asserting their authority and led by 21 after the opening period. Newcastle continued to push on and two triples from Joe Hart in a 12-0 run made it a 33-point game.
Bristol responded with a 10-0 run and cut the gap at the half, but another strong quarter from the visitors in the third re-established a 24-point lead ahead of the final period.
The Eagles led 76-93 inside the last four minutes, only for the hosts to produce a stunning 18-4 close with Hameed Ali finishing with a 30-point haul as the Flyers now have higher hopes going into Sunday's reverse.
BBL Play-Offs, Quarter-Finals, First Leg London Lions 91 (28,44,68) (K Williams 27, Niktash 19, Taylor 16) Glasgow Rocks 70 (12,45,60) (Lescault 27, Achara 11, Watson 10)
London Lions have the upper-hand going into Sunday's second leg after beating Glasgow Rocks 91-70 at the Copper Box Arena.
The Lions squandered a 20-point lead in a final day defeat to Glasgow last week, but will have a 21-point advantage upon their return to the Emirates Arena.
Kai Williams poured in 27 points with seven triples, while the four other starters all recorded double figures with Navid Niktash adding 19 points and nine boards.
The hosts raced into an 11-2 lead which quickly became 24-5 in the opening seven minutes. The lead was at 19 again at 31-12 early in the second, but the Rocks battled back and a 15-2 run tied the game with Hayden Lescault firing in consecutive triples.
Lescault had 18 points, six rebounds and three assists as the Rocks moved into a half-time lead. London restored control in the third to lead by eight and a 15-1 run pushed the lead beyond 20 points.
The Rocks were led by Lescault's 27 points and will be needing a big performance in the second leg on home court.
Hameed Ali (188-G-93, college: Texas A&M-CC)
Townsville Heat adds Anderson to their roster, ex Cheshire P. - 3 days ago
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Townsville Heat (QBL) added to their roster 27-year old British forward Jamell Anderson (200-90). He just played at Cheshire Phoenix in British BBL league. In 33 games he recorded 10.7ppg, 5.0rpg, 2.5apg and 1.9spg this season. The last season Anderson played at Leicester Riders (also in BBL) where in 34 games he averaged 6.6ppg, 3.2rpg and 1.5apg. He helped them to win the regular season and make it to the final. They also played in the Cup final. A very spectacular season in his career... [read more]
Townsville Heat (QBL) added to their roster 27-year old British forward Jamell Anderson (200-90). He just played at Cheshire Phoenix in British BBL league. In 33 games he recorded 10.7ppg, 5.0rpg, 2.5apg and 1.9spg this season. The last season Anderson played at Leicester Riders (also in BBL) where in 34 games he averaged 6.6ppg, 3.2rpg and 1.5apg. He helped them to win the regular season and make it to the final. They also played in the Cup final. A very spectacular season in his career as he was voted to Eurobasket.com British BBL All-Defensive Team. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others Anderson's team won British BBL Cup for two years in a row (2013 and 2014). He represented United Kingdom at the 3x3 World Championships in Greece five years ago. Anderson has played also professionally for other British teams like Nottingham Tribe and Essex Pirates.
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