- National Teams
Newcastle Eagles defeated Glasgow Rocks 84-71 to win the BBL Cup at the Barclaycard Arena on Sunday.
39-year-old veteran Charles Smith top scored with a game-high 21 points, while Rahmon Fletcher orchestrated the offence in an all-round display to earn the MVP award – finishing with 16 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Newcastle used a dominant second quarter as a platform to end a run of four straight finals defeats.
The Rocks put up a brave fight, but their wayward shooting from 3-point range didn’t help their cause as they ended up 5-31 from deep (16.1%). JaJuan Smith top scored with 17 points, while GB forward Kieron Achara added a double-double of 16 points and 11 boards in his first BBL final.
Fab Flournoy’s side had seen their 19-game win streak in all competitions come to an end in the league on Friday night. Worcester Wolves maintained their title challenge with a 99-91 home victory, which also saw them claim the head-to-head record over the league leaders. Chavis Holmes led the way with 24 points, and 7 assists, while Robert Thurman had 21 from the bench. Jamal Williams produced another all-round display picking up 11 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists with GB guard Paul Guede scoring 18 and adding 9 rebounds.
The Eagles had to do without Scott Martin for the most part of the game as he picked up an early injury. Darius Defoe had 20 points, with Smith adding 18 as the visitors narrowly fell short having closed to within a point during the final quarter. Andrew Thomson added 15 points and 12 boards, before fouling out in the closing stages as Worcester closed out the win.
Cheshire Phoenix now have the longest current streak in the BBL after a road win against Sheffield Sharks made it 10 consecutive victories. Coach Coffino’s side powered clear in the fourth to take a 95-82 win, after their leading trio stepped up in scoring once again. Mike DiNunno had a game-high 28 points, and 5 assists, while Taylor King (24/10) and Demond Watt (21/12) added big double-doubles for their side. As for the Sharks, it was a second straight defeat, with former league MVP Mike Cook re-joining the club and scoring 10 points on his second debut. Mike Tuck and Nick Lewis finished with 15 points apiece.
Leicester Riders re-claimed third spot with a convincing 82-59 win away at Bristol Flyers. The visitors gradually moved further clear throughout the game to continue their own title charge. Rashad Hassan continued his recent rich vain of form with 23 points, while Jamell Anderson added 19. Rising young guard Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye top scored for Bristol with 13 points.
Surrey United pulled off a win at the buzzer against Durham Wildcats as Kramer Knutson nailed two clutch free throws at the death. The American centre led the way with a double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds, while Anthony Downing and Elvisi Dusha combined for 40 with 23 and 17 points respectively. Surrey above 57% from the field, but struggled to find their range from deep (2-11) and the foul-line (10-22) although Knutson managed to hold his nerve.
Finally, Brent Benson set the new individual points high of the season with a 38-point haul as Plymouth Raiders defeated Leeds Force to close in on the playoff places. The visitors pulled away in the second half on route to a 93-80 success, with Jordan Clarke also adding 22 points on 10-14 FG shooting. GB point guard Devon van Oostrum scored 16 points on debut for Leeds, although he would return to Spain the following day to join Penas Huesca on loan. Will Hall top scored with 19 points, and added 13 rebounds as the home side fell to a sixteenth league defeat.
Image credit: BBL
RESULTS: Friday– Leeds Force 80-93 Plymouth Raiders, Sheffield Sharks 82-95 Cheshire Phoenix, Worcester Wolves 99-91 Newcastle Eagles. Saturday– Surrey United 80-78 Durham Wildcats, Bristol Flyers 59-82 Leicester Riders. Sunday– (BBL Cup Final) Newcastle Eagles 84-71 Glasgow Rocks.
STANDINGS: Eagles 16-2, Wolves 15-4, Riders 13-3, Phoenix 13-5, Lions 9-7, Sharks 8-8, Giants 8-11, Wildcats/Flyers 7-12, Rocks 6-9, Raiders 6-12, United 4-15, Force 4-16
STAR 5– Chavis Holmes, Brent Benson, Taylor King, Jordan Clarke, Kramer Knutson (6th man- Robert Thurman)