- National Teams
Check out our latest BBL round-up as Newcastle left it late to extend their lead at the top, while Glasgow and Bristol boosted their play-off hopes and Leeds pulled off arguably the result of the season.
Newcastle Eagles saw their grip on the title race strengthen after they defeated London Lions 94-87 on Friday night, and other results went their way. Fab Flournoy’s side were heading for defeat, down by seven heading into the final minute before a remarkable turnaround was inspired by some huge players by Rahmon Fletcher and Scott Martin. Fletcher finished with 22 points and 6 assists, while Martin double-doubled with 18 points and 12 rebounds as the Eagles made it 29 wins in their last 30 games. The Lions were led by 30 points and 15 rebounds from Makal Stibbins, but the statement victory eluded them.
Bristol Flyers moved into the top 8 after recording three straight wins in the league for the first time with two victories over play-off rivals this weekend. First for Andreas Kapoulas’s side was an 88-84 win against Plymouth Raiders at home as they made it four wins out of four over their derby rivals. Bryquis Perine led the Flyers to a comeback triumph with a 34-point haul and Alif Bland added 22 points. January’s BBL Player of the Month Jordan Clarke scored 20 points on his return to action, while new American signing Derek Elston made his club debut off the bench.
Less than 24 hours later, and they were forced to come from behind once more as they defeated Durham Wildcats 84-73 on the road, having trailed by 11 at half-time. Perine put in another important display for the Flyers with 24 points, 4 assists and 3 steals. Bland posted a double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Doug McLaughlin-Williams netted five triples in his 17 points. The Wildcats were led by David Buchberger’s 15 points as they fell to their fourth consecutive loss. Ralph Bucci collected a weekend-high 16 rebounds.
Glasgow Rocks enjoyed two wins at the Emirates Arena this weekend as they moved clear in sixth place. The Rocks needed to come from behind in their BBL TV clash on Friday night to beat Sheffield Sharks 72-64. The home side wiped out the 8-point deficit heading into the fourth with a strong finish to claim the head-to-head series between the two. Reggie Middleton top scored with 18 points, while the Sharks were led by Mike Cook’s 15 points. On Sunday, Sterling Davis’ side dealt Worcester Wolves’ title chances a heavy blow with a crushing 89-60 victory. Tayo Ogedengbe led the rout with 18 points, with Danny Huffor adding 17. The visiting Wolves struggled to find their shooting form and shot below 30% from the field.
Leeds Force claimed an impressive 78-76 victory away at Cheshire Phoenix despite nearly blowing a 21-point lead in the final quarter. The visitors hit some big shots throughout, finishing 10-20 from beyond the arc, but saw a 72-51 advantage turn into a nervy 75-74 lead in the final minute before holding on. James McCann scored an important basket and added a clutch free throw to seal the win and finish with a game-high 25 points. Darrell Bethune added 21 points with Branimir Mikulic contributing 14 points and 9 boards. Matt Newby’s side add Cheshire to their growing list of road scalps including Sheffield and London.
On Friday, Leeds kept pace with Leicester Riders in the early stages before eventually suffering a 76-50 defeat. Neil Watson connected with 6-10 attempts from 3-point range on his way to a game-high 26 points. The Riders took control of second spot with a hard-fought 84-81 home win against Durham. Watson again influenced proceedings with 11 assists complimenting his 12 points. TrayVonn Wright had a game-high 25 with the in-form Rashad Hassan coming up with 21 points and 12 boards. The visiting Wildcats were again led by Buchberger, who netted six triples for 18 points as the North-East side missed two chances to force overtime late on.
London bounced back from Friday’s agonising defeat with an emphatic 104-65 win against Surrey United at the Copper Box. Drew Sullivan top scored with 18 points, while Zaire Taylor filled the stat-sheet with 17 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals.It was a second loss on the weekend for Surrey, and 8th straight, as they were also beaten 109-81 by Cheshire at Surrey Sports Park, on Friday night. Dominique Coleman fired in 37 points against his former side with 7-9 success rate from downtown. As for the Nix, captain David Aliu enjoyed a season-high 27 points, while Demond Watt added 20 points and 10 rebounds.
RESULTS: Friday- Leeds Force 50-76 Leicester Riders; Glasgow Rocks 72-64 Sheffield Sharks; Newcastle Eagles 94-87 London Lions; Surrey United 81-109 Cheshire Phoenix. Saturday- Leicester Riders 84-81 Durham Wildcats; Bristol Flyers 88-84 Plymouth Raiders. Sunday- London Lions 104-65 Surrey United; Durham Wildcats 73-84 Bristol Flyers; Glasgow Rocks 89-60 Worcester Wolves; Cheshire Phoenix 76-78 Leeds Force
STANDINGS: Eagles 23-2; Riders 20-5; Wolves 20-6; Phoenix 18-7; Lions 13-10; Rocks 12-11; Flyers 11-17; Sharks 10-14; Giants 10-15; Wildcats 8-18; Raiders 7-16; Force 7-20; United 4-22
STAR 5: Rahmon Fletcher, Bryquis Perine, Scott Martin, Rashad Hassan, Alif Bland.