In the BBL Championship on Saturday night the Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders and Surrey Heat maintained the pressure on one another in the top three, while the Glasgow Rocks progressed in the BBL Trophy.
The second-placed Riders saw off a second half storm from the Worcester Wolves to win 89-82. The Riders have won five of their last six and remain unbeaten at home all season; for the Wolves, it was their first defeat in three. Zaire Taylor led the Riders with 25 points and 8 rebounds, while Drew Sullivan had 20 points and 9 rebounds. Sherrad Prezzie-Blue, for the Wolves, led all scorers with 26 points.
The Riders dominated the first half and soon had a double-digit lead after a 10-0 surge, during which Sullivan scored 7 points and capped it with an 'and-one' play as they held their visitors scoreless for a further three and a half minutes, for a 17-5 lead. Taylor added another triple in the second stanza and the first half lead peaked at 46-28 midway through on another Taylor basket.
But the Wolves were a different team in the second half and they rattled off the first 10 points of the third quarter, Prezzie-Blue and Alex Owumi hitting consecutive triples, while holding their hosts scoreless for nearly four minutes. And, amazingly, they took the lead soon after at 52-53 on an Owumi score in what was a 19 point swing in 8 minutes. But Couisnard stemmed the flow with a three-pointer and the Riders managed to re-establish their advantage towards the end of the third quarter with an 8-0 burst, the first 4 of which came from Sullivan, to help them take a 63-57 lead into the fourth quarter.
But the Wolves were not done: they posted an early 9-2 run in the fourth to tie the game once more at 71 with 5 minutes to play with Owumi and Kai Williams scoring three-pointers. But the Wolves could never quite get in front of the resilient Riders, and Taylor gave them some breathing space with another triple to make it 76-72 inside the final three minutes. The Wolves continued to score to try and close the gap, but Couisnard and Taylor were there again with three-pointers to keep the Riders at arm's length and Jorge Calvo and Sullivan saw the game out from the free-throw line.
Elsewhere in the BBL Championship, the Surrey Heat consolidated their position in the BBL Championship's top three after an 84-76 defeat of the Durham Wildcats, their second home win of the week and fourth home win in a row. Samuel Cricelli (200-F-85, college: Caldwell) led the Heat with a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Julius Joseph scored key baskets on his way to 15.
The game was tight throughout as the Wildcats led for much of the first quarter, Joseph scoring the last basket to snatch a 20-19 edge for the Heat. The teams were only once separated by more than one possession in the second stanza, as the Heat maintained their lead at 37-35.
And the hosts looked as though they had done enough after the break as they scored the first 9 points while holding the Wildcats scoreless for more than three and a half minutes, Cricelli scoring 6 points in that run as they established a double-digit lead at 46-35. Soon after, Joseph's three-pointer saw the lead peak a 64-49. But the visitors hit back and made it a one-point game with a 14-0 surge across the fourth quarter break, triples from Samuel Johnson and Page making it 64-63. But late on Travis Holmes and Albert Margai regained the Heat's composure and the latter was there again inside the final two minutes with a crucial three-pointer and that proved enough with Cricelli holding his nerve from the free-throw line to make 4 in a row and put the margin back into double-figures at 81-71.
Finally, in the BBL Trophy, The Glasgow Rocks prevailed through an all-Scottish tie to reach the quarter-finals by beating the City of Edinburgh Kings 61-72 in the capital. The Rocks will meet the One Health Sharks Sheffield in the quarter-final. They were never out of sight in what was perhaps an unexpectedly close game against their Scottish National League opponents; Gareth Murray led all scorers with 28 points, while Donald Robinson had 8 points and 11 rebounds for the victors.
The Kings came strongly out of the blocks in front of a sold out home crowd and they led 9-6 after three points from Edgars Rekis and a score from Lee Reilly. But the Rocks steadied the ship as Murray's three-pointer towards the end of the first period helped them to edge it 12-13. But the Kings continued with their good early start and Lee Reilly tied the game at 15 with a triple of his own early in the second stanza; Steven Dickson and Gareth Lodge added free-throws as the Kings took another lead at 18-17 with two and a half minutes played. But that was the last lead that the hosts would see. The Rocks rattled off the next 6 points with Michael Ringgold capping that run, and they slightly extended their advantage by the half time break as Murray scored their last 4 points for a 27-33 lead.
But the Kings demonstrated fortitude to come back once more after the break as they scored the opening 6 points of the third quarter to tie the game, with Reilly scoring all 6 of those. Gareth Murray stemmed the flow before he and Craig Reilly exchanged three-pointers and the teams were still tied at 38. It was still a one possession game at 44-46 heading into the final minute of the third, when the Rocks made the decisive run of the game: they scored the last 6 points, including 4 free-throws for Murray, to take a 44-52 lead into the decisive quarter. And EJ Harrison gave the Rocks their first double-digit lead of the game as he opened the fourth quarter with a three-pointer. That wasn't quite it, though, as the Kings hit back with a 9-2 run in one final salvo, with Lee Reilly scoring 5 of those, to make the score 53-57. But the Rocks held their nerve and hit the next 7 points, with 5 for Murray, to restore their double-digit advantage with under three minutes to play.
Essex Leopards London (NBL D1) signed 26-year old American guard AJ Roberts (193-91kg-90, college: Union, TN). He played last season at Buffalo 716ers (PBL) in the U.S. Roberts helped his team to make it to the PBL Semifinals in 2016. He graduated from Union University, TN in 2014 and it will be his third season as a professional player. By Eurobasket Data Center Check also Complete Transfers List in United Kingdom [read more]
Essex Leopards London (NBL D1) signed 26-year old American guard AJ Roberts (193-91kg-90, college: Union, TN). He played last season at Buffalo 716ers (PBL) in the U.S. Roberts helped his team to make it to the PBL Semifinals in 2016. He graduated from Union University, TN in 2014 and it will be his third season as a professional player.
Malcolm Riley (ex ETB Wohnbau) joins Sheffield Sharks - 5 hours ago
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Defending champion DBL Sharks Sheffield (BBL) agreed terms with 23-year old American forward Malcolm Riley (196-91kg-93, college: Texas Southern). He already started the season at ETB Wohnbau in German ProA, but left the team in Oct.'16. In only one game he recorded 4 points, 1 rebound and 2 assists this season. Riley just graduated from Texas Southern University and it is his first season as a pro. His team won SWAC Regular Season for two years in a row (2015 and 2016). Riley was voted A... [read more]
Defending champion DBL Sharks Sheffield (BBL) agreed terms with 23-year old American forward Malcolm Riley (196-91kg-93, college: Texas Southern). He already started the season at ETB Wohnbau in German ProA, but left the team in Oct.'16. In only one game he recorded 4 points, 1 rebound and 2 assists this season. Riley just graduated from Texas Southern University and it is his first season as a pro. His team won SWAC Regular Season for two years in a row (2015 and 2016). Riley was voted All-SWAC 2nd Team in 2016 at his college time. Riley has played also in SEBL (Summer Hill).
Karpos Sokoli 2000 Skopje (Prva Liga) landed 25-year old British ex-international power forward Ryan Richards (212-104kg-91, agency: Three Eye Sports). He was about to sign at San Antonio Spurs in the NBA. The last season Richards played at Al Ahli (Premier League) in Bahrain. In 2010 he was drafted by San Antonio Spurs (NBA) in second round (49th overall). Richards won Austrian Bundesliga A championship title in 2013. He was also a member of British international program for some years.... [read more]
Karpos Sokoli 2000 Skopje (Prva Liga) landed 25-year old British ex-international power forward Ryan Richards (212-104kg-91, agency: Three Eye Sports). He was about to sign at San Antonio Spurs in the NBA. The last season Richards played at Al Ahli (Premier League) in Bahrain. In 2010 he was drafted by San Antonio Spurs (NBA) in second round (49th overall). Richards won Austrian Bundesliga A championship title in 2013. He was also a member of British international program for some years. Richards played for British Senior National Team back in 2011 and previously for U20 National Team in 2011. He represented United Kingdom at the European Championships U18 Division B in Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) seven years ago. Richards' team got to the Semifinals and his stats at that event were 2 games: 29.0ppg, 13.0rpg. Richards is a very experienced player. And here thanks to pro basketball he experienced life in thirteen different countries playing on three different continents. He is familiar with European, Asian and of course North American leagues. Richards has played previously professionally in Belgium, China (Guangxi), Georgia (Sokhumi), Greece (Ikaros Kallitheas), Hungary (Kormend), Iran (Shahrdari Gorgan and Azad), Italy, Lebanon (Sagesse), Poland (Asseco), Spain, Switzerland (Lugano Tigers), Austria (Vienna) and United Arab Emirates (Al Naser). Let's have closer look into His outlook:
(by Aran Smith for NBADraft.net in 2010)
A player who looks extremely impressive in a workout setting due to his size, agility and touch ... The young bigman shows the ability to shoot with both hands and has some range on his shot ... Utilizes hook shots well and has the basics of playing in the post with footwork and post moves.
Coming from England, he didn't grow up in a basketball environment and lacks the natural feel for the game that someone who does, possesses ... His basketball IQ is a work in progress.
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