BBL Round-up - Week 7 -

BBL Round-up – Week 7

Leeds Force finally claimed their first league win in the BBL while Newcastle Eagles maintained their advantage at the top with their seventh straight league win.

Matt Newby’s Leeds side came out firing on Friday night at the Carnegie Sports Arena and raced into an early 20-3 lead against Surrey. The lead peaked at 25 points in the third but the visitors rallied and a 12-0 start to the final quarter reduced the gap to just six points before Leeds effectively sealed the victory with a run of ten straight points – eventually winning 73-61. Will Hall continued his strong scoring form with 23 points with Darrel Bethune adding 14 points while there were double-doubles for Branimir Mikulic (13pts/14rbs) and James McCann (10pts/11ast). Elvisi Dusha led his United side with a game-high 15 points as they slipped to a 1-6 record following a poor shooting night.

Leeds were in action again on Sunday and put in a valiant effort away at Leicester Riders in front of the BBL TV cameras in a 71-62 defeat. A 21-point haul from Neil Watson helped the Riders recover from a 39-33 half-time deficit while the return of Tyler Bernardini was a boost with the Italian-American adding 10 points. American guard McCann impressed for the visitors and led the resistance with 16 points while Hall collected 10 boards to add to his 8 points tally.

The victory for Leicester helped keep up the pressure on league leaders Newcastle after they continued their winning streak on Friday night with a 95-75 win on the road at Sheffield. The Eagles strength in depth was again evident with six players reaching double figures including all five starters. Andre Jones produced a game-high 20 points while Charles Smith surpassed 6000 league points – purely for Newcastle this time – with 19 points from the bench. The trio of Rahmon Fletcher, Darius Defoe and Andy Thomson all had 13 points apiece while the Sharks were led by Nick Lewis’ 16 points.

The weekend went from bad to worse for Atiba Lyons’ men as they slipped outside of the top 8 with a nail-biting 73-72 loss at Bristol Flyers. It was another hugely impressive win for Andreas Kapoulas (BBL Coach of the Month for October) and his side after claiming the scalp of another top-four team from last season. Doug Herring J helped end the Flyers’ three-game losing run in the league after scoring an equal game-high 23 points along with Greg Streete. The hosts had trailed at the end of all three quarters but rallied in the fourth, spurred on by the SGS Wise crowd to record their fourth league success of the season.

Less than 24 hours later and Bristol re-visited the place of their first-ever road win in the BBL hoping to capture another win at the Emirates Arena. However, this time Glasgow Rocks picked up the two points with a convincing 107-82 victory to move to a winning record in the league for the first time this season. Danny Huffor shot 4-5 from downtown on his way to a personal season-high of 24 points while Tayo Ogedengbe and JaJauan Smith both added 22 points. Once again, Herring had 23 for the Flyers, as did Doug McLaughlin-Williams this time after anded 7 of 10 attempts from 3-point range.

Worcester Wolves edged out London Lions in a clash of two teams challenging for the title with an 83-78 win on Friday. A 16-2 run towards the end of the third proved pivotal for the home side and they managed to hold on despite a late charge from the Lions, who had Makal Stibbins and Ian Salter foul out. Robert Thurman top scored with 23 points and 9 rebounds while Disraeli Lufadeju played a key role off the bench, hitting some important shots in his 10 points. The visitors were looking to build on their midweek 87-71 win against Cheshire but were unable to pull off a first win in Worcester since 2007. Zaire Taylor had sparked a 17-2 start and finished with 19 points against his former club while Andrew Sullivan and Lovell Cook added 16 and 15 points respectively.

Manchester Giants produced another strong home performance to maintain their spot in the top four after beating Plymouth Raiders 102-77 on Saturday. The Giants were fast out of the blocks to lead 31-15 after one and never looked back. Ingus Bankevics top scored with 20 points while Stefan Gill added 17 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists. Brent Benson paced the visitors with a game-high 21.

The final game saw Cheshire Phoenix withstand a late fightback from the Durham Wildcats to record an 83-79 victory at the Northgate on Sunday. The Wildcats were trailing by 12 at half-time – not quite the 21 points they had let slip themselves last week – but still a challenging task nonetheless and they took the lead at 77-75 after five points in quick succession from Sam Attah. However, the Nix quickly restored their advantage and Devan Bailey would seal the win with the and-1 to finish proceedings. Taylor King had a game-high 23 points for Cheshire while the visitors were led by Fran Urli’s 22 point haul.

Following the game, it emerged that recent addition Lester Prosper had been released – becoming Cheshire’s 7th signing to have left the club this season although Rod Wilmont (visa) and Renaldo Major (injury) never arrived.

RESULTS: Friday – Leeds Force 73-61 Surrey United, Sheffield Sharks 75-95 Newcastle Eagles, Worcester Wolves 83-78 London Lions. Saturday – Manchester Giants 102-77 Plymouth Raiders, Bristol Flyers 73-72 Sheffield Sharks. Sunday – Glasgow Rocks 107-82 Bristol Flyers, Cheshire Phoenix 83-79 Durham Wildcats, Leicester Riders 71-62 Leeds Force.

STANDINGS: Eagles 7-1, Riders 6-1, Wolves 5-1, Giants 5-3, Lions 4-2, Rocks 4-3, Phoenix 4-5, Flyers 4-6, Sharks 3-4, Wildcats 3-5, Raiders 3-6, United 1-6, Force 1-7.

STAR 5: JaJuan Smith, Andre Jones, Danny Huffor, Will Hall & Robert Thurman.

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