- National Teams
The Final 8’s were held at UEL SportsDock for the second year in a row as the top eight university teams battle it out this weekend for a place in the BUCS Championship Final at Loughborough (25th March).
Durham beat UEL 76-59
Durham ended the hopes of Premier South champions UEL (10-0), with a rather comfortable 76-59 victory.
Ralph Bucci’s side controlled the game and led by 25 at the end of the third, before the hosts made the score more respectable in the final quarter.
Chris Jones pulled the strings for his side with a number of flashy passes, while David Buchberger found his range from downtown for a game-high 18 points.
Note: Durham advance to the semi-finals for the fifth year in a row, having not reached the Championship game since consecutive appearances in 2011-12.
Sheffield Hallam beat Loughborough 93-84
A mini-upset as Loughborough would have fancied their chances to make the Championship game on home court with Sheffield Hallam coming away with the 93-84 win.
Tyler Bernardini and Conner Washington hit big triples at the end of the third to put Loughborough up 67-64 as it looked like last year’s finalists would capitalise on the momentum heading into the fourth.
However, Sheffield Hallam battled back and were led by impressive performances by Sharks trio Nick Lewis, Colin Sing and Zach Gachette – who attacked the rim throughout. Lewis nailed a dagger three to make it 87-81 before Sheffield closed it out from the line.
Note: Loughborough fail to reach the semi-finals for the first time since joining the Premier ranks, while its a first final four appearance for Sheffield Hallam.
Worcester beat Brunel 86-82 (OT)
In the game of the day, four-time defending champions Worcester were given a huge scare before closing out an 86-82 win in overtime.
Robert Thurman asserted his authority at both ends to finish with a dominant 33 points and 22 rebounds, while Kalil Irving scored 17 points and made some big plays down the stretch for his side. Caylin Raftopoulos added 14 points and had a nice finish to put Worcester ahead in the extra period.
Brunel’s Benji Lawmann was definitely in the zone, making a number of mid-range shots whilst enjoying his personal duel with Irving. Prince Lartey controlled the ball well for his side and knocked down a few shots from distance as Brunel just fell short.
Note: It was the fourth time in five years the two met in the quarter-finals and was by far the closest with Worcester previously winning 70-37 (2011), 85-40 (2012) and 87-69 (2013).
Northumbria beat Leeds Beckett 83-75
Northumbria survived a final quarter comeback to book a showdown with Worcester with an 83-75 win.
Marc Steutel’s side increased their control as the game went on and led by 11 at the end of the third. However, Leeds rallied and took a two-point lead midway through the final quarter. Northumbria responded in style to close out the game with big plays down the stretch from Lewis Champion and Scott Martin.
Darius Defoe top scored with 17 points; Champion added 16, while Martin and Damoy Robertson added 14 and 12 points respectively.
Note: Northumbria reached the semi-finals for the first time since 2012 having been beaten by Durham at this stage the past two years.
2pm- Sheffield Hallam v Durham (semi-final)/Loughborough v UEL (points playoff)
4pm- Worcester v Northumbria (semi-final)/Brunel v Leeds Beckett (points playoff)