Saturday night in the BBL Championship saw the Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders open a gap at the top, while the UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders burst back into the top three and the Worcester Wolves edged closer to the top four.
The Riders used a dominant second half display to beat the Manchester Giants 84-59. It was their sixth win in a row and they remain unbeaten at home all season, capitalising on the defeat that the Newcastle Eagles suffered on Friday night. Drew Sullivan led the way with 25 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists; supported by Pavol Losonsky's 19 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Only Ben Eaves made it into double figures with 15 points for the Giants, who suffered their fourth straight road defeat.
From the outset the Riders surged into a 12-5 lead with an 8-1 burst that included 4 points for Anthony Rowe, and they never trailed. A run from the Giants proved to be a spark for the Riders, as they responded with an 8-2 burst, 6 points in a row from Losonsky helping them into a double figure lead at 24-14 after the first ten minutes.
The Riders began to establish a commanding lead in the third period, using a 10-4 run to make the score 47-36 in a spell that was started by a Sullivan three and ended with four points in a row from Zaire Taylor. There was no way back for the Giants as the hosts were rampant in the fourth quarter. An 11-2 surge in the space of two minutes settled the game as Losonsky and Sullivan scored 4 each, sending the lead to twenty at 70-50. They pushed on from there as Sullivan added another three-pointer and the lead peaked at 81-52 in what became a 24-6 spell over six and a half minutes.
Elsewhere, the Raiders overcame the Surrey Heat to leapfrog their opponents into the crucial top four in the BBL Championship, prevailing through a second half comeback and a last ditch salvo attempt to win 91-89. The teams were joined on 28 league points before the game, so the Raiders have put daylight between them as they bounced back from defeat in their last outing. The Heat have lost four of their last five road games. Michael Ojo (195-G-89, college: Lehigh) led the way with 31 points and 5 assists, while Matt Schneck had a double-double of 10 points and 16 rebounds.
The Raiders had established a strong first half lead after scoring 10 points in a row in the first quarter to lead 24-17. That became 47-35 by the half thanks, in large part, to their shooting from beyond the arc as Ojo and Barnett hit three-pointers, the former on 19 points already by the break. But the Heat opened with an 8-2 run after the half to set the tone what would come, as Cricelli scored 7 of those with the run becoming 15-5 to tie the game at 52. Rod Brown showed his experience to settle the Raiders with an 'and-one' play, but even he couldn't halt the Heat's momentum as they took the lead soon after behind Frank Holmes and another Cricelli score; Albert Margai added a three-pointer to help the score out to 60-66.
The Heat held their lead for much of the fourth quarter until, with four minutes to play, Barnett hit another three to make the score 81-83 and a minute later Ojo did the same to give the Raiders the lead back. But that wasn't it, despite the lead going out to 89-84 on another Barnett triple inside the final minute, as a pair of Chavis Holmes free-throws and Margai's triple with 9 seconds remaining looked as though they may send the game into overtime. But Matt Schneck was fouled by Frank Holmes, and settled the game by making 2/2 at the line, with Cricelli missing the three-pointer that could have won the game on the buzzer.
Finally, the Worcester Wolves came through double overtime to beat the London Lions 98-91 to record wins in consecutive nights and make it three in a row. The defeat condemned the Lions to their seventh straight road defeat, a run that stretches back to the end of October. Stan Ocitti led the way with 21 points and a big defensive effort including 6 blocks; Alex Owumi added 18 points and 7 rebounds.
The Wolves had much the better of the first half after an early 10-2 push and they led 42-36 at half time. The Lions came back to tie the game in the third quarter but the Wolves were resolute as they responded with a 13-3 surge and, in the blink of an eye, were leading by double digits at 62-52, with Kazlauskas making two three-pointers in that run and Ocitti adding another. Quick baskets from Jordan Spencer and Mike Martin helped the Lions to narrow the gap, and it was bridgeable at 67-61 heading into the decisive last ten minutes.
And so it proved, despite the Wolves seemingly settling any nerves early in the fourth quarter with Irving and Owumi scoring the first 5 points. But it turned into a nervous and low-scoring period. The hosts went scoreless for three minutes while the Lions scored 7 in a row, another Sturt triple making it 74-70 within the last three minutes. But, after a series of free-throws, it was Perry Lawson who forced the overtime period with a buzzer-beating score that capped an 11-point swing in the last five minutes of the game.
The first overtime period was also a nervous affair, as only one point was scored in the opening two minutes: a free-throw from Owumi giving the Wolves the edge. The visitors' first score was Jackman's three-pointer that tied the game, but the Wolves looked to have won it with Ocitti and Owumi scoring for an 86-82 lead with only 30 seconds to play. Sturt made 2/2 at the line and Jackman scored to tie the game, Williams missing the chance to win it at the buzzer for the hosts. In the second overtime period the Wolves finally buried their visitors. They again held the Lions scoreless for three and a half minutes, while scoring the first five points through Irving and Ocitti, and that cushion proved enough.
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.
Al Nift Baghdad (Superleague) signed 22-year old American forward Shaheed Davis (206-95kg-94, college: Cent.Florida). He already started the season at DBL Sharks Sheffield in British BBL league, but left the team in Oct.'16. In four games he had very impressive stats: 16.0ppg, 7.0rpg and 1.5bpg this season. Davis just graduated from University of Central Florida and it is his first season as a pro. He won Southern Conference in 2014. By Eurobasket Data Center Check also Complete Transfe... [read more]
Al Nift Baghdad (Superleague) signed 22-year old American forward Shaheed Davis (206-95kg-94, college: Cent.Florida). He already started the season at DBL Sharks Sheffield in British BBL league, but left the team in Oct.'16. In four games he had very impressive stats: 16.0ppg, 7.0rpg and 1.5bpg this season. Davis just graduated from University of Central Florida and it is his first season as a pro. He won Southern Conference in 2014.
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