Around the NBL - Week 20 Recap -

Around the NBL – Week 20 Recap

Check out our latest round-up of all the action across the four divisions of the NBL as the playoffs begin in D4.

Division One

Essex Leopards (16-5) lost their firm grip of the title race after splitting their weekend double-header. David Ajumobi led his side to a 73-66 win at NASSA (4-18) with 18 points, while Courtney Van Beest and Will Ashby contributed 17 and 16 points respectively. The Leopards were then left to rue a poor shooting display after going under 25% from the field and 4-32 from 3-point range, in a 58-52 loss at home to a Worthing Thunder (10-12) side without key player Chavis. Partner-in-crime Hank Rivers stepped up with a huge 28 points and 19 rebounds to give his side the shock win.

Team Northumbria (14-5) are the best placed side in joint third along with three other teams on 28 points, after they defeated Kent Crusaders (14-7) 81-76 behind 22 points from Chris Hatch. The Crusaders had claimed an 83-69 home win over Reading Rockets (14-8) the day before with Tola Akomolafe top scoring with 22 points as his side battled back from seven down at the end of the first. Reading bounced back with 33 points from Danny Carter inspiring a 73-59 road win at Westminster Warriors (4-18).

Manchester Magic (14-7) continued their rise after picking up back-to-back wins at home. They defeated Tees Valley Mohawks (8-13) 95-66 on Saturday, before Ellis Cooper then racked up an impressive triple-double with 25 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in an 80-62 win over Hemel Storm (8-15). Jack Minister added a 13-8-7 stat-line, while Darren Best had 24 points in opposition.

Derby Trailblazers (15-7) moved second after also claiming two wins. There was almost another triple-double as Dan Watts put up 14 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists as they defeated NASSA 77-68. John Stewart top scored with 18 points to complete a double-winning weekend for his side as Westminster Warriors forfeited on Saturday.

Also, Bradford Dragons (10-13) earned a 98-86 win at Worthing with 27 points from JP Davis and a further 23 from Rihards Sulcs. Hemel defeated Leicester Warriors (9-12) 91-87, and Tees Valley also beat the Warriors with Romonn Nelson scoring 25 points in the 82-64 win on Sunday.

Division Two

London Lituanica (20-1) and Lancashire Spinners (19-2) set up a final-day decider for the D2 title after both picking up wins last weekend. The leaders eased past Ipswich Basketball with a 91-65 win as Paulius Adomaitis top scored with a 20-point haul. Meanwhile, the Spinners were awarded the win against Eastside Eagles (6-14) following their late forfeit.

Loughborough Student Riders (13-7) capitalised on the defeat for Ipswich to move into third with a 77-70 home win over Birmingham Mets (6-15) with UTEP commit Josh McSwiggan contributing a team-high 14 points.

London Greenhouse Pioneers (10-9) recorded back-to-back-to-back wins this week after claiming two wins over Brixton Topcats (9-12) and another at home to London United (3-18) on Wednesday. The Pioneers were led by Miodrag Vidakovic’s 15-point and 18-rebound double-double on the road, on Sunday. United were also beaten 98-76 by Derbyshire Arrows (12-8) and 82-57 by Eastside Eagles, while London Westside (6-14) defeated Worcester Wolves II (5-15) 93-57.

Division Three

The final two regular season games took place ahead of this weekend’s playoffs. Leeds Allerton High Force (5-17) defeated Hull Wasps (5-16) 86-56 in a relegation decider, while Newcastle Under College Knights (16-6) defeated D3 North champions, Liverpool (20-2), 94-89 on the road behind Kieran Jones’ 34 points.

Liverpool v Team Solent; Nottingham Hoods v Plymouth Raiders II (both Saturday); Solent Kestrels v City of Sheffield Saints; Thames Cavaliers v Newcastle Under Lyme College Knights (both Sunday)

Division Four

The quarter-final line-up in the D4 playoffs is set as the last 16 games took place last weekend.

Unbeaten North winners, Team Newcastle University pulled off an incredible late comeback to force OT on a Maurice Cole three at the buzzer, before going on to beat Greenwich Titans 93-83. Cole finished with a game-high 22 points, while Chuck Duru added 18 points. All but one of the other regional D4 winners booked their spot in the last eight.

Doncaster Danum Eagles beat Woking Blackhawk Flyers by 35 as Matthew Martin dropped 37 points in their 110-75 victory. East Midlands champions Brentwood Fire fell to a surprising 85-73 loss at home to College of West Anglia Fury, who finished third in the same division.

Benji Lawmann scored 31 points to lead Brunel Ducks to a 92-75 win at home to regional rivals Sussex Bears as Joel Henry added 22 points. Another unbeaten team, Oxford Brookes University, found a way to win as they saw off the challenge of City of Birmingham with a 94-85 success.

Barking & Dagenham Thunder ran out convincing 89-70 winners over BC Crawley United and face a trip to Tyneside for a tough quarter-final matchup with Newcastle. Loughborough Student Riders II defeated Tameside 74-65, and Myerscough College Giants crushed Swindon Shock 88-49 with Emmanuel Kabengele scoring 24 points.

Team Newcastle University v Barking & Dagenham Thunder; Oxford Brookes University v Myerscough College Giants; Doncaster Danum Eagles v Loughborough Student Riders II
College of West Anglia Fury v Brunel Ducks (all played Saturday)

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