- National Teams
Just four teams remain in the quest for playoffs glory at the O2 Arena on May 10th, after the completion of the quarter-finals.
Newcastle Eagles (1) defeated Bristol Flyers (8)
The quest for another clean sweep continues for Newcastle as they claimed a comfortable victory over Bristol, who made their playoffs debut. Fab Flournoy’s side did the damage on the road in the first leg as they built a commanding 20-point advantage to take back to Tyneside for the following night. All five starters hit double figures with Charles Smith, Andy Thomson and the returning Andre Jones all scoring 17 points. The Flyers struggled to find their range; finishing with 7-31 from beyond the arc as they were held to just 23 points in the first half. In the second leg, Andreas Kapoulas’ men were determined to go down fighting and were more competitive and led by as many as five in the first half as all five starters would go on to register double-figures, while Bryquis Perine also dished out 11 assists. The hosts closed out the game in style with a strong second half led by Scott Martin and Smith, who combined for 43 points. Having also made his return in the opening leg, Darius Defoe had a bigger impact in the second, making his first 8 shots from the field on his way to 19 points.
Results: 1st leg- Flyers 64-84 Eagles; 2nd leg- Eagles 92-80 Flyers
Eagles win 176-144 on aggregate
Sheffield Sharks (7) defeated Leicester Riders (2)
It can be argued whether or not this should actually be regarded as an upset, but take nothing away from the magnitude of the win for Sheffield – especially in the manner they eventually closed it out. After an impressive first-leg display at home, the Sharks travelled to Loughborough with an 11-point cushion. Leicester wiped that out in the opening eight minutes, but the visitors didn’t buckle under pressure and grew as the game went on to their opponent’s frustration. Time was beginning to run out for the Riders until a sudden late charge changed the swing of the tie. All of a sudden, Conner Washington made some big shots and the Trophy finalists were up by 13, and gained the overall lead. A jumpshot from BJ Holmes fell short, and a rebound from Leicester would have probably secured the game, but Nick Lewis came up big with the offensive putback to take the game into overtime. Sheffield then took over with a couple of huge 3-pointers from Holmes, who ended up with 23 points, and another from John Barber putting the game beyond doubt leaving the hosts with too much to do. Tyler Bernardini and Wright combined for 49 points as the comeback attempt fell short.
Results: 1st leg- Sharks 79-68 Riders; 2nd leg (OT)- Riders 91-85 Sharks
Sharks win 164-159 on aggregate
London Lions (6) defeated Worcester Wolves (3)
Much has been made of Zaire Taylor’s season. The reigning league and playoffs final MVP has not produced what has come to be expected of him from his first two seasons in the BBL. However, as Lions fans would undoubtedly have hoped for, it seems that the American is saving his best for when it really matters. Taylor went off for a BBL season-high of 41 points, including seven 3-pointers, to help London crush his former side in the second leg to advance to the semi-finals. Drew Sullivan, a big time player and GB captain, weighed in with 22 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists as the duo almost combined to score more than Worcester in the second leg. The Lions seized the initiative in the tie in the second half at the University of Worcester as they overturned a slender two-point deficit at the half to take a 5-point advantage back to the capital as Sullivan scored 17, and Lovell Cook contributed 16 points coming off the bench.
Results: 1st leg- Wolves 75-80 Lions; 2nd leg- Lions 106-67 Wolves
Lions win 186-142 on aggregate
Cheshire Phoenix (4) defeated Glasgow Rocks (5)
Both legs went against the home team, but it was Cheshire who got the better of Glasgow to progress in their quest for silverware. Head Coach John Coffino saw his side almost surrender a double-digit lead heading in to the second leg on their home floor as the visiting Rocks battled hard until the final buzzer. At one stage, Glasgow led by as many as eight points, just three points away from potentially forcing overtime. Just as they did in the opening game, Nix finished strong with Taylor King closing the game out from the foul line to finish with 26 points and 12 rebounds following a below-par shooting display at the Emirates Arena. Demond Watt was back to his dominant best in the first leg, and he finished with 28 and 11 to help his team establish the upper-hand. The game had been evenly poised with the two teams heading into the crucial fourth all-square at 62 after Dustin Salisbery netted a three on the third quarter buzzer. After a quick 7-0 burst, the visitors then compiled a 17-4 run to build a commanding lead to take into the second leg. Tayo Ogedengbe top scored with 22 points, but the defeat left the Rocks with too big a mountain to climb.
Results: 1st leg- Rocks 78-91 Phoenix; 2nd leg- Phoenix 86-87 Rocks
Phoenix win 177-165 on aggregate
Image credit: Sheffield Sharks