- National Teams
The BUCS Championship Final has been set as Durham and Northumbria won their respective semi-finals on Sunday to book a showdown on 25th March at Loughborough.
Durham beat Sheffield Hallam 88-76
Ralph Bucci’s side progressed to their first final since back-to-back appearances in 2011-12 as they pulled clear in the second half to get past Sheffield Hallam.
Chris Jones top scored with 24 points with Bryan Hockaday adding 18 points in a dominant display for Durham. Sharpshooter David Buchberger contributed 12 points, while Charles Rhodes also hit double figures with 10.
Sheffield Hallam were chasing their first BUCS Championship final appearance, but fell away in the second half as their opponents took control after building on a 47-39 lead heading into the interval.
“It was great team performance throughout the weekend,” commented Bucci.
Northumbria beat Worcester 109-75
Championship favourites Northumbria eased to a comfortable win over the four-time defending champions Worcester as they reached the BUCS Final for the first time.
Charles Smith netted seven 3-pointers on his way to an equal team-high of 25 points alongside Newcastle Eagles team-mate Scott Martin. Another Eagle, Darius Defoe added 13 points and Jack Preston had 11 as every member of the Northumbria squad got on to the scoresheet.
“We are thrilled to advance to our first BUCS final,” said Northumbria Head Coach Marc Steutel. “It was a great team performance today with all 12 players getting on the scoresheet and contributing.
“Charles (Smith) showed his experience and talent with a fantastic overall performance and our younger guys followed. We are now looking forward to competing against a talented Durham team in the final.”
This season – (Durham 74-85 Northumbria, 15 October, 2014; Northumbria 99-78 Durham, 19 November, 2014)
History – Durham have eliminated Northumbria in the past three seasons with a semi-final victory in 2012 followed by consecutive quarter-final wins in 2013 & 2014.
Meanwhile, UEL defeated Loughborough 84-76 in the first points playoff despite a serious injury to captain Dougie Bennett which delayed the game for an hour. The final game of the weekend saw Leeds Beckett crush Brunel in the second points playoff with a 90-45 victory with a game-high 26 points from Darrell Bethune.
Who do you think will win the final? Leave your thoughts below!