- National Teams
The BBL season continued post-Xmas with six league games rounding off the 2014 action heading into the New Year.
Newcastle Eagles still lead the way after making it 18 consecutive victories in all competitions with an 88-69 victory on the road at Glasgow Rocks in a BBL Cup Final dress rehearsal.
All five Eagles starters hit double figures, as did Charles Smith who top scored with 19 points. There were double-doubles for Darius Defoe (15pts/13rbs) and Scott Martin (10pts/13rbs), while Andre Jones had 14 and Rahmon Fletcher added 12. The Rocks closed to within four points in the third before Newcastle pulled away. Danny Huffor and the fit again JaJuan Smith both scored 16 points, while Paul Egwuonwu recorded a double-double of 10 points and 10 boards.
Note: The win also gives the Eagles the best calendar record in the league (31-2) via BBLTV commentator Dan Routeledge.
— Daniel Routledge (@dan_routledge) December 28, 2014
Worcester Wolves kept themselves in the hunt with a 68-58 victory over Leeds Force. Still without Rob Thurman, the Wolves were made to work hard for the win as the visitors stayed in contention throughout. Chavis Holmes collected 12 rebounds to add to his 14 points as Jamal Williams top scored with a game-high effort of 18 points. Two players reached double figures for Leeds, with James McCann scoring 14, whilst adding 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
Paul James’ side had also claimed an important victory away at Leicester Riders two days before Christmas after earning an 86-82 victory. Paul Guede was given a debut by the Wolves, with Holmes top scoring with 20 points to allow the visitors to hold on to second place.
Sheffield Sharks had an impressive weekend on the road with two victories, despite the continued absence of BJ Holmes, as they closed to within a single win of 5th place to take their win streak to five.
In the capital, the Sharks led from start to finish as they recorded an 81-61 victory away at London Lions. Allen Payne scored 22 points from the bench, while compatriot John Barber contributed a valuable 19 points and 11 rebounds. After a strong start to open up a 24-12 advantage at the end of the first, Sheffield never looked back, although the Lions launched a mini-revival at the start of the third with a 10-0 run to pull within five. Makal Stibbins finished with 18 points.
Atiba Lyons’ men started the weekend with a 60-53 comeback win against Surrey United after falling behind heading into the fourth. Nick Lewis paced the visitors with 21 points to lead all scorers. The home side were led by 17 points from Donatas Visockis, but were left undone after conceding a 13-0 run in the final quarter.
Surrey would blow another 3rd quarter lead less than 24 hours later after going down 91-77 at Manchester Giants. Anthony Downing top scored with a game-high 27 points, and Kramer Knutson pulled down 12 boards along with 9 points. As for the victors, Mike Bernard produced a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds with Callum Jones also adding 19 as the Giants picked up an important win with a dominant final period, which began with a devastating 21-2 tear.
Bristol Flyers claimed the Head-to-Head over their South West rivals after a late surge saw them beat Plymouth Raiders 91-86 on the road. Teen guard Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye stepped up from the bench with a season-high 21 points, whilst dishing out 7 assists. Captain Greg Streete added a 20-point, 11-rebound double-double and Doug McLaughlin-Williams had 15 points including some vital triples down the stretch.
The home side took a six-point lead at 82-76 following triples from Brent Benson and Pierre Hampton, before Bryquis Perine netted from downtown in the middle of two 3-pointers from McLaughlin-Williams, who would score 10 points in the final two and a half minutes to seal the win. Josh Wilcher led Plymouth with 21 points with 13 coming from the foul line, while Hampton added 19 points and 15 boards.
RESULTS: Saturday– Surrey United Sheffield Sharks. Sunday– Worcester Wolves 68-58 Leeds Force, Plymouth Raiders 86-91 Bristol Flyers, London Lions 61-81 Sheffield Sharks, Glasgow Rocks 69-88 Newcastle Eagles, Manchester Giants 91-77 Surrey United
STANDINGS: Eagles 15-1, Wolves 13-4, Phoenix 11-5, Riders 10-3, Lions 9-6, Sharks 8-6, Giants 8-10, Flyers 7-10, Rocks 6-9, Wildcats 6-11, Raiders 5-11, Force/United 3-14.
STAR 5– Callum Jones, Nick Lewis, Greg Streete, Allen Payne, Darius Defoe. (6th man- DLO)