- National Teams
Newcastle Eagles secured their second piece of silverware for the season after overcoming Leicester Riders, 96-90, in an enthralling BBL Trophy Final at the Emirates Arena.
Veteran Charles Smith netted four 3-pointers in the final quarter to earn the MVP award; putting up 18 points and adding 7 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks. Scott Martin top scored with 20 points as six players hit double figures with the BBL Cup Final MVP Rahmon Fletcher dishing out 8 assists to accompany his 18 points.
Once again, Riders fell short in the Trophy Final, but can be proud of their effort with Jamell Anderson impressing with his 20 points, while Neil Watson – 10 points, 13 assists – and TrayVonn Wright – 11 points, 10 rebounds – contributed double-doubles. Anthony Rowe and Conner Washington gave their sides great minutes off the bench with effective contributions from both.
With the teams tied at 45 at the half, Leicester took control in the third to lead by nine at one stage on the back of a triple from Anderson. Newcastle hit back and Smith took over in the final quarter with a typically clutch shooting display, despite playing with a fractured hand.
Newcastle had extended their lead at the top of the BBL Championship on Friday night, after being made to work for their 101-74 victory over Bristol Flyers. In the absence of Smith, Darius Defoe stepped up with 27 points and 12 rebounds with 18 points apiece coming from the Eagles back-court duo Andre Jones and Fletcher. Despite the loss, Bristol will take heart from their display and they still hold on to the all-important eighth spot. Bryquis Perine shot 8-11 from the field on his way to 22 points with Alif Bland adding 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye chipped in with 12 off the bench.
Cheshire Phoenix continued their pursuit for a top-two finish as they moved into third with a 94-82 win on the road at fifth placed London Lions. Lovell Cook went off for a game-high 30 points for the home side, but they were unable to build on a half-time lead. Dustin Salisbery top scored for the Nix with 23 points, while Demond Watt and Taylor King added 20 and 19 points respectively.
Sheffield Sharks boosted their play-off hopes with an 85-72 win at home to the Durham Wildcats. Mike Cook top scored with an 18 points as four players reached double figures, including Nick Lewis, who added 14 from the bench. The winning margin would have been much greater but for the visitors’ 35-17 final quarter effort. Fran Urli had a game-high 22 points in vain with Durham’s playoff chances looking increasingly slim.
Following the BBL Trophy Final, Glasgow Rocks took to their home court and managed to grind out a 67-59 win over Leeds Force. The visitors led for most of the game, but fell away when it mattered most and Kieron Achara inspired the Rocks with 20 points, 14 rebounds and 7 blocks. Tayo Ogedengbe top scored for the second game running with 22 points, while the visitors were led by Will Hall’s 19 points.
London bounced back from their defeat at the Copper Box to inflict another loss on Durham; winning 83-71 away from home. GB captain Drew Sullivan stepped up with an important 29 points and 7 assists with 18 points coming from Zaire Taylor in the win. Urli was again the main scorer for the Wildcats with 24 points, but he was unable to help prevent his side falling to an eighth consecutive defeat.
Also, on Sunday, Sheffield made it a double-winning weekend after easing to a 100-68 home win against Surrey United. Cook again led the way with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Olu Babalola had 18 points from the bench. Anthony Downing had 19 points for the visitors, while Kramer Knutson hauled in another double-double with 13 points and 12 boards.
Surrey had claimed just their fifth league victory of the season less than 24 hours beforehand after beating Manchester Giants 90-89. The home side produced a dominant second quarter, only to see the Giants bounce back and open up an 89-80 advantage in the closing stages. Surrey responded with a 10-0 close to take the win with Downing hitting the game-winning jumpshot with 17 seconds left to finish with 31 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Knutson also played the full game and came up with a big double-double of 18 points and 16 rebounds with a further 17 points coming from Dominique Coleman. The visitors were led by Ingus Bankevics’ 19 points, but saw their play-off hopes suffer yet again.
Image credit: BBL
Results: Friday- Sheffield Sharks 85-72 Durham Wildcats, Newcastle Eagles 101-74 Bristol Flyers, London Lions 82-94 Cheshire Phoenix. Saturday- Surrey United 90-89 Manchester Giants. Sunday- Newcastle Eagles 96-90 Leicester Riders (BBL Trophy Final), Durham Wildcats 71-83 London Lions, Sheffield Sharks 100-68 Surrey United, Glasgow Rocks 67-59 Leeds Force.
Standings: Eagles 26-2, Wolves 23-6, Phoenix 22-9, Riders 21-5, Lions 16-12, Rocks 15-11, Sharks 14-15, Flyers 12-20, Giants 11-18, Wildcats 8-22, Raiders 7-20, Force 7-23, United 5-24.
Star 5– Anthony Downing, Mike Cook, Charles Smith, Drew Sullivan, Kieron Achara