- National Teams
Week 10 action saw Newcastle’s lead at the top increase, while there were two more game-winners at the buzzer to cap an eventful weekend on Sunday.
JaJuan Smith was the hero this week for the Rocks after his 3-pointer at the buzzer in overtime sealed a 99-96 win against Worcester. Danny Huffor top scored with 24 points on 4-6 shooting from downtown, Tayo Ogedengbe dished out six assists alongside his 21 points, while Smith added 19 including five triples as the home side shot a total of 15-35 from beyond the arc. The teams were tied at 81 at the end of regulation before a high-scoring extra period ensued and Remy Dibo had levelled the game after going 1/2 at the line, before Smith came up with the big shot to win it. Chavis Holmes had 24 points for the Wolves, while Robert Thurman grabbed 15 boards and had a game-high 26 points.
The American centre also dominated in Worcester’s 79-65 win at home to the Bristol Flyers on Friday after producing another double-double of 17 points and 16 rebounds. The depleted visitors raced out to a surprising lead, before Worcester stormed back to take control with a 30-10 second quarter. Holmes led all scorers with a 25 point haul, while Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye stepped up with 18 off the bench for the Flyers.
Glasgow also recorded a home win on Friday after beating Durham 79-68, and they now improve to 6-5 with the two victories. All five starters hit double-figures for the Rocks, with Huffor again leading the way with 21 points, while Kieron Achara added 18 points and 12 rebounds. Ralph Bucci collected 16 rebounds as the Wildcats fell to a 5-7 record – Chris Jones and Fran Urli had 14 points each.
London Lions inflicted a second league defeat on Leicester thanks in large to two former Riders players. Zaire Taylor ran the show with 21, while Drew Sullivan dished out 10 assists to compliment his 19 points in the 89-75 win. Lovell Cook top scored for the Lions with 25 points on 6-9 shooting from 3-point range and there was a double-double for Makal Stibbins, who weighed in with 12 points and 13 rebounds. As for the visitors, Neil Watson had 21 with the Riders left to rue a poor third quarter which saw them outscored 22-9 and facing an uphill battle in the fourth.
It completed a winning double-header for the capital side after they enjoyed a contrasting victory, beating Leeds Force 64-61 on the road Friday night. The home side raced into an 11-0 lead and maintained their advantage up to seven minutes left to go as Cook buried a three to put London ahead for the first time at 54-51. James McCann led Leeds with 16 points in the absence of Will Hall, while Taylor led his side with 20 points.
Meanwhile, the Riders’ loss had followed a convincing home victory less than 24 hours beforehand as they defeated Surrey 102-87. Rashad Hassan was dominant in his 34 point haul, shooting 16-21 from the field and adding nine rebounds. Watson added 20 points and 10 assists, going up against the man he replaced at Leicester, Anthony Downing. The American guard scored 18 points on his debut weekend for Surrey, with Kramer Knutson pulling down 12 boards to compliment his team-high 19 points which helped keep the visitors competitive.
The losses for Worcester and Leicester meant they were unable to close the gap on rampant leaders Newcastle, who had recorded their 10th straight league win on Saturday. The Eagles kept a spirited Bristol side at bay on their way to a 105-93 success on the road. Alif Bland led the resistance with 25 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks as key scorer Doug McLaughlin-Williams joined Doug Herring on the sidelines with a hamstring injury. The visitors shot 56% from the field, led by 25 points off the bench from Charles Smith, while all five starters also reached double-figures – Darius Defoe went 8-8 for his 17 points.
The victory completed another excellent weekend for Fab Flournoy’s side as they also drew first blood in their BBL Cup semi-final against Sheffield. Newcastle will take a two-point advantage back to Sport Central for the second leg after earning a 77-75 win on Friday night. Defoe and Scott Martin both had 18 points apiece for the visitors, while Allen Payne led the Sharks with the same points tally. After trailing by as many as nine at the start of the fourth, Sheffield had forged a four-point lead of their own with four minutes to go, but were unable to see out the win.
It proved to be the start of a frustrating weekend for the Yorkshire club as they found themselves falling to another agonising defeat in the league. For the second week running, they were denied in the final seconds as DeAndre Medlock beat the buzzer to hand Plymouth a 91-90 victory on Sunday. The Sharks produced a mammoth comeback from 20 points down at the end of the third to take the lead in the closing stages, only to be denied by the 6’10” American. Raiders’ guard combo of Josh Wilcher and Brent Benson combined for 52 points with 26 apiece to end their side’s losing run.
The victory ensured Plymouth bounced back from a disappointing 91-80 home loss to Manchester on an action-packed Friday night. Stefan Gill led the visitors with 21 points, while Ben Eaves added a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds to give the Giants a return to winning ways.
Cheshire Phoenix made it five wins in a row with a 99-69 road victory at Surrey with Taylor King top scoring with 21 points. David Aliu weighed in with 20 points of his own to keep the ‘Nix win going as debuts were handed out to Adrien Sturt and Simeon Naydenov.
RESULTS: Friday – Leeds Force 61-64 London Lions, Surrey United 69-99 Cheshire Phoenix, Worcester Wolves 79-65 Bristol Flyers, Glasgow Rocks 79-68 Durham Wildcats, Plymouth Raiders 80-91 Manchester Giants, (BBL Cup SF 1st leg) Sheffield Sharks 75-77 Newcastle Eagles . Saturday – Bristol Flyers 93-105 Newcastle Eagles, Leicester Riders 102-87 Surrey United. Sunday – London Lions 89-75 Leicester Riders, Plymouth Raiders 91-90 Sheffield Sharks, Glasgow Rocks 99-96 Worcester Wolves (OT).
STANDINGS: Eagles 10-1, Wolves 9-2, Riders 8-2, Phoenix 8-5, Lions 7-3, Rocks 6-5, Giants 6-6, Wildcats 5-7, Flyers 5-10, Raiders 4-9, Sharks 3-6, United 2-9, Force 2-10.
STAR 5: JaJuan Smith, Zaire Taylor, Darius Defoe, Rashad Hassan, Robert Thurman (6th man – Danny Huffor)