BBL Round-up - Week 5 -

BBL Round-up – Week 5

Newcastle Eagles gained the outright lead at the top of the BBL Championship with another double-winning weekend which included ending London Lions’ unbeaten start.

The defending league champions began their double-header with a convincing 105-78 home win against Surrey (1-5) as Charles Smith reached 6000 career league points in the BBL. The 35-year-old knocked down two triples before converting 3/3 from the foul line to hit the required 20 points needed to reach the landmark at the start of the final quarter. Darius Defoe top scored with 21 points with Kramer Knutson leading the resistance with a huge 24 points and 18 rebounds double-double while Trevor Setty (16) and Lavione West (15) added scoring support.

On Sunday, Fab Flournoy’s side inflicted a first defeat on the Lions to improve to a 6-1 record in front of the BBL TV cameras at the Copper Box. They raced into a 20-5 lead at the end of the opening quarter and couldn’t be caught despite a valiant fightback from the Lions. Lovell Cook shot 6-13 from beyond the arc on his way to a game-high 25 points whilst pulling down 11 boards with Zaire Taylor the only other Lion in double figures with 12 points as the hosts shot a combined 27% from the field. Defoe had another impressive game for Newcastle, top scoring with 19 points while Fletcher recorded a double-double after dishing out 10 assists to compliment his 13 points.

London had extended their winning start to the league campaign on Friday after easing to a dominant 91-63 win over the Plymouth Raiders. The home side raced into a 16-2 start and never looked back to pick up their third win of the season. Rod Brown had 18 points in the win while Drew Sullivan added 15 points and there were 14 points apiece for Makal Stibbins and Taylor.

Plymouth managed to bounce back from the defeat with a 73-69 triumph against Leeds albeit after surviving a mammoth comeback from the league newcomers. The Raiders looked to be coasting to victory after leading 46-22 at half-time only to see the visitors force their way back into contention with an incredible run that saw them level the game at 69 in the final minute. Emile Hopkins put his side back into the lead to cap an impressive personal performance before Brent Benson sealed the win from the free-throw line. Josh Wilcher starred with 15 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists while David Evans top scored with 17 points. As for Leeds, former GB U20 player Will Hall continued to make an immediate impact upon his injury return with 26 points and 10 rebounds.

It was the second of two defeats over the weekend for Leeds as they fell to an 0-6 mark having been heavily beaten 98-69 at home to Worcester on Friday. The home side had led 22-16 early on before the Wolves found their range from deep to embark on a pivotal 20-2 run to close the quarter to gain a lead they would not relinquish. Alex Owumi shot the lights out with a perfect 6-6 from downtown on his way to a BBL season-high 33 points while Hall again top scored with 17 points.

Leicester were another side to keep up the pressure on leaders Newcastle after they crushed Bristol with an 83-54 win in Loughborough. Still without Tyler Bernardini, the Riders dominated the opening quarter on their way to a convincing 29-point success. Pavol Losonsky led the way with 19 points while Neil Watson continued his scoring form with 18 points as Doug Herring produced a game-high 21 point haul for the fallen Flyers.

Cheshire Phoenix snapped their losing streak with a hard-fought 89-86 win on the road against Glasgow. Former NBA player Julius Hodge made his debut for the visitors having replaced compatriot Brad Karp and the 30-year forward made an instant impact with 11 points and 10 rebounds in a full 40-minute display. Demond Watt is doing a fine job filling the role of double-double machine Victor Moses, pulling down 17 boards and adding 26 points – a points tally matched by point guard Mike DiNunno who also connected with 6-9 from downtown. Jajuan Smith top scored for the Rocks with 22 points as they were left to rue a couple of late turnovers that allowed their opponents to seize control with a pivotal 6-0 burst late in the fourth.

The final game saw Manchester pull off an important road win at Durham with Darren Best stepping up with 22 points from the bench in the 92-84 victory. The Giants were fast out of the blocks only to be pulled back in the second as Durham levelled the game at 40-40 gong into half-time with a 26-15 quarter. A strong fourth helped the visitors to their first win away from home with Ingus Bankevics and Steffan Gill again shooting well from 3-point range on their way to 20 and 17 points respectively. Chris Jones flirted with a triple-double for the Wildcats after a stat-line of 17 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists.

Results: Friday– Newcastle Eagles 105-78 Surrey United, London Lions 91-63 Plymouth Raiders, Leeds Force 69-98 Worcester Wolves; Sunday– Plymouth Raiders 73-69 Leeds Force, Durham Wildcats 84-92 Manchester Giants, London Lions 56-69 Newcastle Eagles, Glasgow Rocks 86-89 Cheshire Phoenix, Leicester Riders 83-54 Bristol Flyers.

Standings: Eagles 6-1; Riders 5-1; Wolves 4-1; Giants 4-3; Lions 3-1; Sharks 3-2; Wildcats 3-3; Flyers 3-4; Raiders 3-5; Rocks 2-3; Phoenix 2-4; United 1-5; Force 0-6

Star 5: Rahmon Fletcher, Mike DiNunno, Alex Owumi, Darius Defoe, Demond Watt

*Notable mentions: Chavis Holmes, Josh Wilcher, Darren Best, Will Hall, Kramer Knutson


Charles Smith reached 6000 league points
Zaire Taylor passed 1000 league points

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