- National Teams
Our latest round-up sees Newcastle Eagles secure their place in this month’s BBL Trophy Final after a comprehensive 230-178 aggregate semi-final win against Plymouth Raiders.
Fab Flournoy’s side set the tone with a dominant 126-79 win in the first leg at Sport Central. Scott Martin led the way with 25 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks, with Andre Jones also adding a 25-point haul. Instrumental point guard Rahmon Fletcher dished out 12 assists to compliment his 14 points as the Eagles racked up 30+ points in each of the first three quarters to establish a commanding advantage. Pierre Hampton top scored for the Raiders with 18 points, while Jordan Clarke added 13 points and 10 rebounds in the 47-point loss.
The second leg was more evenly contested, but Newcastle still came out on top as they claimed a 104-99 victory to seal their win in style. Andrew Thomson top scored on this occasion with 22 points, while Darius Defoe weighing in with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Clarke led a spirited effort from Plymouth with 28 points, while Hampton had 26 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists and Wilcher double-doubled with 15 points and 10 assists.
Neil Watson produced the first triple-double of the season with an impressive effort of 18 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists as Leicester Riders claimed an 80-63 victory over the London Lions in the first leg. TrayVonn Wright top scored with 21 points, and Rashad Hassan had 18 points and 11 rebounds as the Riders’ American trio stepped up to forge a controlling advantage in the semi-final. The Lions were again led by Taylor, who had 19, while Rod Brown struggled from the field going 0-9 on his return from injury.
The Lions were also in league action in mid-week, as Glasgow Rocks leapfrogged their opponents with a 75-67 win at the Copper Box Arena. Zaire Taylor scored 28 points, but it wasn’t enough for the home side as the visitors won the final quarter by nine to take the win. Jonny Bunyan top scored for the Rocks with 15 points including making 7-8 from the line, while Reggie Middleton added 11 before being ejected for a double technical.
Cheshire Phoenix needed a second half revival to see off Durham Wildcats 99-76 on the road, although the game was marred by an un-savoury incident in the closing stages. A fight broke out leading to six ejections on the Durham side, as well as Phoenix centre Paul Sturgess, who received an indefinite ban from the club whilst the matter was investigated. Demond Watt netted 20 of his game-high 31 points in the second half and added 11 rebounds, while Dustin Salisbery contributed 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. The Wildcats led 49-40 at half-time, and had 20 points apiece from Fran Urli and John Puk, but were left to rue conceding a 16-0 opening to the third quarter as the momentum shifted.
On Sunday, the Nix fell to a 93-85 at play-off hopefuls Manchester Giants, who were able to hand a second debut to deadline day signing Rob Marsden. Stefan Gill sunk five triples on his way to a team-high 23 points, with all five starters hitting double figures along with Mike Bernard, who added 10 from the bench. As for the visiting Cheshire side, Watt again led the way with an almost identical 31 points and 12 boards, with captain David Aliu missing through injury.
Bristol Flyers made it four straight wins after beating fellow newcomers Leeds Force 71-47 at home on Friday night. After a slow start, the hosts recovered to gain complete control and Greg Streete finished with 26 points and 14 rebounds, while Alif Bland had 5 blocks to go with 12 points and 8 boards. Leeds were boosted by the return of Will Hall, who had 18 from the bench, but were kept to just four second-quarter points, while James McCann went 0-15 from the field.
Also, Worcester Wolves re-claimed second spot with a convincing 87-65 home win against Sheffield Sharks. Robert Thurman controlled the game with a 20-20 game with 22 points and 20 rebounds, while Chavis Holmes matched his points tally and added 6 rebounds as well as 5 assists. The visitors lost every quarter, and were led by Nick Lewis’ 12 points, as the Canadian-born guard also added 9 rebounds as his side fell to a sixth straight defeat.
Results: Wednesday- London Lions 67-75 Glasgow Rocks. Friday- Durham Wildcats 76-99 Cheshire Phoenix; Bristol Flyers 71-47 Leeds Force; Worcester Wolves 87-65 Sheffield Sharks; Newcastle Eagles 126-79 Plymouth Raiders (BBL Trophy). Sunday- Manchester Giants 93-85 Cheshire Phoenix; Leicester Riders 80-63 London Lions (BBL Trophy); Plymouth Raides 99-104 Newcastle Eagles (BBL Trophy).
Standings: Eagles 23-2; Wolves 21-6; Riders 20-5; Phoenix 19-8; Lions/Rocks 13-11; Flyers 12-17; Giants 11-15; Sharks 10-15; Wildcats 8-19; Raiders 7-16; Force 7-21; United 4-22.
Star 5: Neil Watson, Greg Streete, Scott Martin, Demond Watt, Robert Thurman.