A high-scoring Friday night in the BBL Championship saw four home wins and a contraction in the middle of the table.
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle kept up the pressure on Leicester Riders at the top, as Scott Martin put in one of the performances of the season to see them power past Bristol Flyers 108-94. Martin hit nine three-pointers - including six to dig his team out of a first quarter hole - on his way to a massive double-double of 41 points and 11 rebounds.
Further north, Glasgow Rocks strengthened their grip on third place as Gareth Murray (201-F-84, college: Kalamazoo Valley CC) led them to a 95-82 defeat of Cheshire Phoenix - their first home win over this opposition since March 2014, and their fifth win in the last six games.
Meanwhile, London Lions let their top four spot slip as they were beaten 99-91 on the road at Worcester Wolves, a team that shot 61% from beyond the arc as debutant Trey Zeigler sparked a decisive 13-4 fourth quarter burst.
Finally, live on BBC Sport, Surrey Scorchers took possession of the final Play-off spot outright, and closed the gap on those above them, as they impressed in front of the cameras, and a sold out home crowd, to beat Plymouth Raiders 99-75 behind 25 points from Quincy Taylor.
Glasgow Rocks have strengthened their grip on third place in the BBL Championship after making it five wins in six games with a 95-82 victory over Cheshire Phoenix at the Emirates Arena.
Phoenix came into this one with five consecutive wins in Glasgow, dating back to March 2014, but they had not won in this campaign since their last win north of the border in December, and have now lost five on the spin.
And Rocks led for the majority of this game, although it was rarely comfortable. Gareth Murray split the teams as he scored five in a 7-2 second quarter run, making the score 32-23 as he and Kieron Achara shared 17 early points.
It was double-digits by the half as Anthony Elechi emerged from the bench to quickly get into double-figures himself on 5/5 shooting, Rocks leading 44-32, and Murray's three-pointer after the break kept the lead at that margin.
Cheshire made it close down the stretch, Frank Eaves scoring four in a 10-2 run across the fourth quarter break that got them back to within one shot at 69-67.
But Jonny Bunyan's crucial three-pointer kept them off, and when Neil Watson did likewise coming out of a timeout the score was 82-75 inside the last four minutes, before Rocks scored the last nine points of the game to make it comfortable.
Glasgow shot 58% on the night, led by Murray - who is the league's most accurate shooter - on 61% and 21 points. Watson also had 13 points, nine assists and six rebounds.
Scott Martin turned in one of the performances of the season as Esh Group Eagles Newcastle beat Bristol Flyers 108-94 to maintain the pressure at the top of the BBL Championship table.
Martin scored 41 points, hitting nine three-pointers on 81% shooting, while snatching 11 rebounds and dishing five assists to all-but guarantee himself a spot in BBL Team of the Week. He was supported by 19 points and 9 assists from Rahmon Fletcher, as Eagles maintained a record of having won all 11 BBL meetings with Bristol, all by double-figures, with this the fifth time they've been through the century.
But the teams entered this game on similar form, and Flyers showed that early on as they raced into a 9-0 lead on Hassan Ali's three-pointer. But that was as good as it would get, before Martin came alight. He and Fletcher connected from long-range as the Eagles tied at nine, and they were in front at 28-25 by the end of the first period - Martin hitting an astounding six triples in the opening ten minutes.
He then scored five in a row to get the Eagles further ahead in the second stanza, and it was double-digits when he added five more in a run of ten unanswered, for 60-46 on the approach to half time. Martin had already scored eight of his three-pointers by that stage.
And Eagles were never really threatened thereafter, despite Flyers initially narrowing the gap as Brandon Boggs scored 11 third quarter points, before they got as close as 86-81 on Greg Streete's three-pointer in the fourth quarter.
But Deondre Parks and Orlan Jackman, with back-to-back triples, settled the game and pushed the lead back out to 98-86, and it went through the century when Fletcher scored consecutively soon after.
Worcester Wolves strengthened their BBL Championship Play-off position, and closed the gap with the top four, with a 99-91 home win over the fourth-placed London Lions, making it five in their last six games.
Wolves shot 61% from three-point range on the night, led by 19 points, eight rebounds and seven assists from Jermel Kennedy, as he hit all three of his long-range attempts; while Marek Klassen led them with five triples on his way to 18 points.
But it was Lions that were initially doing the damage as former Wolves Alex Owumi and Kai Williams hit early treys, the latter 3/3 in the first quarter, to put the visitors up 17-10.
Kennedy changed all that in the second stanza, scoring seven in a run of 13 unanswered as Worcester snatched the lead at 44-39; only to lose it again when Owumi scored four more in an 8-0 finish to the half.
Lions then added the first five of the third period to go 54-48 in front as Andre Lockhart opened with a triple.
But Kennedy and Danny Huffor - who went through 2,000 career points on the night - responded in kind to put the hosts in front 62-60 and they carried that margin into the decisive fourth quarter.
Debutant Trey Zeigler then sparked the match-winning run as he scored five early points, including an 'and-one' play, in what became a 13-4 start when Ashton Khan and Trevor Setty added consecutive three-pointers, for an 82-71 lead.
That proved insurmountable late on, as the Wolves broke an all-time tie of 16 wins each in league meetings between these sides, maintaining a strong home record over the Lions, now 12-4.
Surrey Scorchers turned on the heat with a blistering display in front of the BBC Sport cameras as they took down Plymouth Raiders
The Scorchers were beaten comfortably in Devon earlier in the season, but re-paid the favour in style even without key starter, Will Neighbour.
Quincy Taylor impressed with 25 points including a tough fadeaway to beat the half-time buzzer before the home side ran riot in a dominant third period that saw Cory Dixon ejected for a second technical.
Plymouth had made an 0-5 start, but that was as good as it got in the contest as the Scorchers took control of a scrappy opening period.
A 17-2 response opened up a double-digit lead and it would take a moment of brilliance from Taylor to maintain a 10-point cushion going into half-time at 46-36.
Early in the third, a great block from Mike Ochereobia at one end led to a corner three from Tayo Ogedengbe to make it a 15-point game and Surrey went from strength to strength.
The gap continued to grow and hit 31 points when Gabe McCray connected from downtown early in the fourth period. The damage had been done and the Scorchers secured the victory that lifts them above Bristol into eighth.
Daryl Corletto led the resistance with 24 points on a poor night for his side as the Raiders drop to 11-9 ahead of Sunday's clash with Cheshire Phoenix.
Just four teams remain in the BBL Play-Offs after London Lions, Leicester Riders, Esh Group Eagles Newcastle and Worcester Wolves advanced to the Semi-Finals. Leicester defeated Surrey Scorchers 94-58 in convincing fashion with a balanced attack, and they will face London next as they went through despite a 71-62 loss away at Glasgow Rocks. Worcester completed a four-point aggregate win against DBL Sharks Sheffield as Danny Huffor netted 23 points in an 86-84 home victory. Also, the Ea... [read more]
Just four teams remain in the BBL Play-Offs after London Lions, Leicester Riders, Esh Group Eagles Newcastle and Worcester Wolves advanced to the Semi-Finals.
Leicester defeated Surrey Scorchers 94-58 in convincing fashion with a balanced attack, and they will face London next as they went through despite a 71-62 loss away at Glasgow Rocks.
Worcester completed a four-point aggregate win against DBL Sharks Sheffield as Danny Huffor netted 23 points in an 86-84 home victory.
Also, the Eagles held off Bristol Flyers with an 84-82 triumph with a combined 46 points from Darius Defoe (204-F-84) and Rahmon Fletcher helping them through.
BBL Play-Off Semi-Finals
Riders (1) v Lions (6) Eagles (2) v Wolves (5)
Dates and times of games will be confirmed on Monday 01 May
BBL Play-Offs, Quarter-Finals, Second Leg Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 84 (21,46,67) (Defoe 26, Fletcher 20, Parks 12) Bristol Flyers 82 (26,47,65) (Ali 24, Boggs 20, Cosby 12)
Eagles win 181-176 on aggregate.
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle secured a spot in the Play-Offs Semi-Finals after beating Bristol Flyers 84-82 at Sport Central for a five-point aggregate triumph.
The Eagles had led by as many as 33 points in the First Leg before Bristol's revival and the Second Leg proved to be a close-fought battle throughout.
Darius Defoe produced a big performance for the Eagles with 26 points and 10 rebounds with Rahmon Fletcher adding nine assists along with 20 points.
It was Bristol who made a bright start with a 2-9 run to take the lead in the tie for the first time and they were still ahead by the end of the first quarter at 21-26.
The Flyers restored their seven-point lead at 30-37 before the Eagles rallied with a 11-2 run, though they would trail by one at the half.
The lead continued to change hands throughout the third with Newcastle taking a two-point advantage into the final period. The Eagles led 78-69 midway through the fourth, but the Flyers set an exciting finish with an 11-2 run to take the lead.
However, the hosts held their nerve with Fletcher icing the win with three free throws as Eagles advanced.
Hameed Ali finished with 24 for the Flyers as their valiant effort fell short to end their third campaign in the BBL.
BBL Play-Offs, Quarter-Finals, Second Leg Glasgow Rocks 71 (12,32,53) (Watson 23, Lescault 15, Thomas 14) London Lions 62 (10,33,45) (Taylor 20, Hassan 13, Owumi 11)
Lions win 153-141 on aggregate.
London Lions moved into the Semi-Finals of the Play-Offs, despite suffering a 71-62 defeat away at Glasgow Rocks in the Second Leg.
The damage in the tie had been done in the First Leg with the Lions up 21 and it proved to be too big a deficit for the Rocks to overcome.
Neil Watson led the Rocks with 23 points in Sunday's victory with Kieron Achara contributing a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The Rocks edged a low-scoring opening period, but the visitors turned things around in the second to go into half-time ahead by a single point.
Glasgow surged clear in the third after holding the Lions to just 12 points with a Watson triple at the buzzer making it 53-45 with the overall lead down to 13.
The lead on the night peaked at 12 points at 61-49, but could not make any further inroads despite completing a victory to end their campaign.
Zaire Taylor top scored for the Lions with 20 points as they advance to a Semi-Final showdown with Leicester Riders. BBL Play-Offs, Quarter-Finals, Second Leg Worcester Wolves 86 (21,50,70) (Huffor 23, Klassen 14, Setty 13) DBL Sharks Sheffield 84 (16,34,54) (Riley 23, Tuck 15, Rembert/Sing 13)
Wolves win 159-155 on aggregate.
Worcester Wolves followed up their First Leg victory with an 86-84 win over DBL Sharks Sheffield to advance to the Semi-Finals.
The Wolves led by as many as 19 points on the night and had to hold off a late fightback from the Sharks to knock out the defending champions with a four-point aggregate success.
Danny Huffor top scored with 23 points with three other players in double figures as the Wolves continued their impressive form of late with another victory.
The home side led by five after the first 10 minutes and pulled clear late in the second with a 19-3 burst as they built a 50-34 half-time advantage.
After a 20-20 third period, Wolves moved into a 76-57 lead with 7:35 left on the clock before the Sharks cut the gap with a 14-2 run.
Triples from Malcolm Riley and Zach Gachette made it a one-point game and a free throw from Trevor Setty was enough to secure the win on the night and overall.
Riley had 23 points for the Sharks, but their loss means there will be new Play-Off champions this season.
BBL Play-Offs, Quarter-Finals, Second Leg Leicester Riders 94 (28,51,75) (Bernardini/Washington/Thomson 14) Surrey Scorchers 58 (12,25,45) (Ogedengbe 21, Taylor 17, Williams/Rollins 7)
Riders win 167-131 on aggregate.
Leicester Riders secured their place in the Play-Offs Semi-Finals in dominant fashion as they defeated Surrey Scorchers 94-58 in the Second Leg.
The tie was evenly poised after Friday's thrilling draw, but the league champions produced the goods on their home floor to advance.
Tyler Bernardini, Conner Washington and Andy Thomson all netted 14 points apiece with five players in total reaching double figures in a balanced attack.
The game was tied at 10-10 early on before the Riders made their move with a 10-0 run and established a 28-12 advantage after 10 minutes.
Leicester's lead continued to grow with a 14-2 start to the second and they were 26 points ahead at the half-time break. The gap reached 30 points heading into the fourth and they closed out the game in a convincing manner to advance.
Tayo Ogedengbe led the Scorchers with 21 points but they were unable to pull off a First Round upset.
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)
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