Friday night in the BBL Championship saw the Glasgow Rocks maintain their chase of the top four, while the One Health Sharks Sheffield leapfrogged the London Lions into the playoff spots, the latter losing to the Cheshire Phoenix who thereby strengthened their position in the top eight.
The Phoenix won for the first time in three games and remain seventh after beating the Lions 87-88 with a last gasp basket. The Lions have now lost five in a row, including four straight home outings after previously being unbeaten at home in two months. The Phoenix were led by 22 points from Alif Bland with Jerome Gumbs contributing 20 points and 8 rebounds. Tayo Ogedengbe led all scorers with 28 points and 9 rebounds.
The Phoenix started and finished the game strongly, with a fourth quarter comeback proving decisive. But the Lions led 64-58 heading into the final two minutes and scored the opening two baskets of the fourth to take a double-digit lead - the only one either side held all game. The Phoenix responded with a 9-1 run with Gumbs scoring 5 to make it a one possession game at 69-67; they then tied the game at 74 on a Chez Marks three-pointer, and when he hit another one less than a minute later they led 75-77.
Marks added a pair of free-throws to make that a 10-1 run and a 14 point swing in a little over four minutes; despite the Lions hitting back, they held an 84-86 lead heading into the last two minutes. The lead changed hands when Ogedengbe made it 87-86 with a minute to play and it looked as though Cheshire's efforts had been in vain; but after Sturt missed a three-pointer, Marks grabbed the rebound and, on the resulting offence, they found Gabriele Haskins for the winning basket with just 6 seconds to play.
Elsewhere, the Glasgow Rocks remain on the fringes of the top four in the BBL Championship after an 82-92 road win at the Manchester Giants. For the Giants, it is their first home defeat in three, with their last defeat coming in November, also to the Rocks. The victors were led by player/coach Sterling Davis with 22 points, while Donald Robinson had 20 and Gareth Murray added 17 points and 9 rebounds.
The Rocks used a strong second half performance after the Giants led through much of the first.The first half was tight, and the Giants held a 48-46 lead at the break after a number of lead changes in the second quarter. The third quarter started in a similar fashion as Sterling Davis's triple gave the Rocks the lead back before Callum Jones responded and the teams ended up tied at 56 midway through. They were tied again at 58 before the Rocks made a crucial run: in a minute and a half they scored 8 points in a row, with Robinson scoring 5 of those and capping the run with a triple, to force the hosts into a timeout at 58-66 with a little over two minutes to play. Aliu's three-pointer, against his former club, in the last 20 seconds made the score 63-67 and set up a tense final period.
The Giants came close early in the fourth as Watts hit a three-pointer and Bailey added another one soon after to make the score 69-71. But EJ Harrison kept the Rocks ticking over, scoring 5 in a row as a triple made it 73-78 with five minutes to play. And that run became a 12-0 surge to settle the game as they held their hosts scoreless for three and a half minutes with 4 points each from Davis and Robinson, and a Fantazia triple giving the Rocks a double-figure lead at 73-87 with three minutes to play.
Finally, the One Health Sharks Sheffield jumped into the playoff spots with a comprehensive 64-99 defeat of the Mersey Tigers in the North West; they have now notched back-to-back wins and it's their first road win in three. Demetrius Jemison led the scoring with 22 points, supported by BJ Holmes who scored 16 and added 6 assists.
The Sharks never trailed after a solid start saw them score the first 4 points through Jemison and Micah Williams, holding their hosts scoreless for two minutes. An 8-0 burst in the space of 45 seconds soon afterwards made the score 3-11 as Holmes scored all of those points, capping the run with a three-pointer. Jemison scored again to push the lead through double-figures and, from 5-13, the visitors scored another 8 in a row, sparked by a Williams triple. The lead was over 20 before the first quarter was done as Mike Tuck scored 4 points, by which time they had held the Tigers scoreless for a further three minutes for a score of 5-25 that became 11-32 by the end of the quarter.
They were never threatened thereafter, pushing the lead through 30 in the third quarter and seeing it peak at 46-85 on George Brownell's basket in the fourth.
Glasgow Rocks became the first team to book their spot in the BBL Cup Final after overcoming the challenge of Surrey Scorchers in Sunday's second leg. BBL Cup, SF 2nd Leg Glasgow Rocks 87 (20,45,73) (Watson 18, Achara/Thomas 13) Surrey Scorchers 73 (24,42,63) (Rollins 22, Ogedengbe 14, Taylor 12) (Rocks win 168-152 on aggregate) Glasgow Rocks booked their place in the BBL Cup Final after beating Surrey Scorchers 87-73 on Sunday for an overall 16-point victory. Sterling Davis' side hav... [read more]
Glasgow Rocks became the first team to book their spot in the BBL Cup Final after overcoming the challenge of Surrey Scorchers in Sunday's second leg.
BBL Cup, SF 2nd Leg Glasgow Rocks 87 (20,45,73) (Watson 18, Achara/Thomas 13) Surrey Scorchers 73 (24,42,63) (Rollins 22, Ogedengbe 14, Taylor 12)
(Rocks win 168-152 on aggregate)
Glasgow Rocks booked their place in the BBL Cup Final after beating Surrey Scorchers 87-73 on Sunday for an overall 16-point victory.
Sterling Davis' side have now won 12 straight games in all competitions as they make a return to the Cup Final having last participated in 2015.
Neil Watson (180-PG-91, college: S.Mississippi) led the way with 18 points and 10 assists, while Kieron Achara amassed 17 rebounds to go with 13 points with five other players reaching double figures in the win.
The Rocks made a strong start in front of their home fans with a Watson triple making it 14-4 on the night. However, the Scorchers rallied and went ahead by four by the end of the first to lead the tie on aggregate.
The visitors were still up by four with two minutes to go in the half before Glasgow scored the final seven points to lead 45-42 at the break. The Rocks pulled away in the third with a 15-4 surge.
Surrey cut the gap to 10 having trailed by as many as 17, but had a mountain to climb in the final period, which proved to be a tight, low-scoring quarter which enabled Glasgow to secure their place in the Final.
Glasgow will face either London Lions or Esh Group Eagles Newcastle in the BBL Cup Final at the Barclaycard Arena in January.
Paul James celebrated 500 BBL wins on a special night in front of the BBC Sport cameras, while Glasgow Rocks have the edge in their BBL Cup Semi-Final. The Rocks edged out Surrey Scorchers 79-81 on the road after a late rally from the home side keeps their hopes alive going. Kieron Achara(208-F/C-83, college: Duquesne, agency: Two Points) led Glasgow with 24 points. Meanwhile, Worcester recorded their fifth league win of the season after beating Bristol Flyers 88-56 behind 21 points and... [read more]
Paul James celebrated 500 BBL wins on a special night in front of the BBC Sport cameras, while Glasgow Rocks have the edge in their BBL Cup Semi-Final.
The Rocks edged out Surrey Scorchers 79-81 on the road after a late rally from the home side keeps their hopes alive going. Kieron Achara (208-F/C-83, college: Duquesne, agency: Two Points) led Glasgow with 24 points.
Meanwhile, Worcester recorded their fifth league win of the season after beating Bristol Flyers 88-56 behind 21 points and 13 rebounds from Maurice Walker.
Paul James earned his 500th BBL win as a coach after his Worcester Wolves side defeated Bristol Flyers 88-56, in the first game live on the BBC Sport website.
Maurice Walker led the way with 21 points and 13 rebounds, while three other players hit double figures in the win.
Worcester raced out of the blocks and were quick to impress in front of the cameras after racking up 30 points in the opening period as they established a commanding 18-point lead.
The Flyers handed a debut to Aaron Cosby but were unable to get their offence flowing in the first half and were held to just 26 points in the half.
The lead continued to grow for Worcester and reached 30 points on an early score from Jermel Kennedy in the third. Bristol enjoyed a brighter spell with a 12-3 run, but would still be 31 points behind ahead of the last 10 minutes.
James was able to spread the minutes throughout his roster with the result all but secured and Worcester edged the final period to wrap up their fifth league win of the season.
The Flyers have now lost 11 consecutive games in the league since winning their season opener.
Glasgow Rocks have a slender advantage going into Sunday's second leg after beating Surrey Scorchers 79-81 on the road in their BBL Cup Semi-Final.
The visiting Rocks have now won 11 straight games in all competitions, but a late surge from Surrey keeps them in contention to reach the Final.
Kieron Achara top scored for Glasgow with 24 points, while Quincy Taylor also netted 24 points for Surrey with the tie still hanging in the balance.
An 8-0 run pushed the Rocks ahead and Jonny Bunyan ended the opening period with a step-back triple. Glasgow continued to hit big shots and a three from Neil Watson made it 27-34 early in the second.
The hosts hit back with a 10-2 run to move ahead, but Achara netted another three to give his side an advantage into the half-time break.
Back-to-back triples extended the gap to double digits at the midpoint in the third and the Rocks led by as many as 14 points at 50-64. The Scorchers rallied in the final quarter and went on a 9-0 run to close within two.
Bunyan stopped a four-minute rot with a three but a late score from Taylor ended the game at 79-81.
The two teams meet at the Emirates Arena on Sunday for the second leg.
Naft Abadan (Superleague) agreed terms with 25-year old British ex-international power forward Ryan Richards (212-104kg-91, agency: Three Eye Sports). He already started the season at Karpos Sokoli in FYR Macedonian Prva Liga. In four games he had 6.0ppg and 2.8rpg this season. Richards also played 1 game in Balkan League where he recorded 6 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals. In 2010 Richards was drafted by San Antonio Spurs (NBA) in second round (49th overall). His team won Iranian Superle... [read more]
Naft Abadan (Superleague) agreed terms with 25-year old British ex-international power forward Ryan Richards (212-104kg-91, agency: Three Eye Sports). He already started the season at Karpos Sokoli in FYR Macedonian Prva Liga. In four games he had 6.0ppg and 2.8rpg this season. Richards also played 1 game in Balkan League where he recorded 6 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals. In 2010 Richards was drafted by San Antonio Spurs (NBA) in second round (49th overall). His team won Iranian Superleague Regular Season in 2015. Richards was also a member of British international program for some years. He played for British Senior National Team back in 2011 and previously for U20 National Team in 2011. Richards represented United Kingdom at the European Championships U18 Division B in Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) seven years ago. His team got to the Semifinals and his stats at that event were 2 games: 29.0ppg, 13.0rpg. Richards is quite experienced player. His career allowed him to visit three different continents, while he played in fourteen different countries. Richards tasted the life as pro basketball player in Europe, Asia and of course North America. He has played previously professionally in Austria (Vienna), Bahrain (Al Ahli), Belgium, China (Guangxi), Georgia (Sokhumi), Greece (AE Ikaros Kallitheas), Hungary (Kormend), Italy, Lebanon (Sagesse), Poland (Asseco), Spain, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates (Al Naser) and Iran (Shahrdari Gorgan and Azad). On Richards:
(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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