- National Teams
The 2014-15 BBL regular season finished this weekend with the playoffs quarter-finals line-up confirmed as Newcastle Eagles sealed their seventh league title, and Bristol Flyers clinched eight spot.
BBL Playoffs Quarter-Finals:
Newcastle Eagles v Bristol Flyers; Leicester Riders v Sheffield Sharks
Worcester Wolves v London Lions; Cheshire Phoenix v Glasgow Rocks
Newcastle wrapped up the league title on Wednesday evening after they defeated Manchester Giants 107-97. Manchester still had the fate of their playoff hopes in their own hands, before suffering a 96-87 loss at Sheffield Sharks to hand the initiative back to Bristol Flyers as Mike Cook poured in 25 points. Andreas Kapoulas’ side then got the job done as Bryquis Perine scored 29 points in a comfortable 79-54 win over Leeds Force, to seal their playoff spot in their debut campaign.
With the Championship already secured, the Eagles closed out the season with heavy losses coming at home to Cheshire, and at second-placed Leicester – with Scott Martin joining Darius Defoe, Andre Jones & Fab Flournoy on the sidelines. David Aliu had a monster game against the North-East side with 31 points on 12-15 shooting in the 101-78 road win for Phoenix with Taylor King adding 27 points, 12 rebounds and six assists. Phoenix were then without their captain, and Dustin Salisbery, for their season-finale, but still managed to record a 75-68 home win over Sheffield Sharks with Adrien Sturt leading the way with 19 points and 15 rebounds.
Leicester ran out convincing 116-84 winners against Newcastle on Saturday night with Rashad Hassan top scoring with a 29-point haul. The Riders would finish just two points behind in second having seen their win-streak ended by Worcester Wolves as they split their two games this week. Rob Paternostro’s side ground out a 66-63 win on Tuesday to keep the title race alive as Tyler Bernardini came up with a huge triple in the closing stages.
With second already secured and the title race over following Newcastle’s win on Wednesday, the Riders starting five were given the night off on Friday night and they would end up going down 77-67, despite 23 points from Conner Washington. Worcester were led by Robert Thurman’s 20 points and the American centre then returned to the starting line-up on Sunday to record 28 points and 9 rebounds in a crushing 110-79 win at Durham Wildcats – who played all five starters for 40 minutes due to visa issues preventing Chris Jones, John Puk and Fran Urli from playing.
The Wildcats were also involved in a road traffic accident on their way to the capital two nights before, which led to the postponement and eventual forfeit of their game at London Lions. Vince Macaulay’s side benefited from the 20-0 victory, and would then claim sixth after easing their way to a 96-78 win on the road at Manchester Giants, helped by a pivotal 21-0 run in the second quarter. Drew Sullivan had 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Americans Makal Stibbins and Lovell Cook added 19 points apiece and Rod Brown scored 9 points on his competitive return.
Glasgow Rocks secured a fifth place finish with back-to-back wins on the road to conclude the regular season with a 21-15 record, having also beat Surrey United 96-77 in their final home game on Wednesday. They played without Kieron Achara for the weekend, and began by beating Leeds Force 70-62 behind Reggie Middleton’s 17 points. Darrell Bethune had a game-high 18 for the hosts, who were missing James McCann and Ricky Fetske because of visa isuses. The Rocks then travelled much further south on Sunday and defeated Plymouth Raiders 100-85 with Tayo Ogedengbe and Danny Huffor combining for 63 points with 34 and 29 points respectively.
Jay Marriott gave academy prospects Jason Carr, Ryan Peard and Tristan Hall extended run-outs in the loss with Americans Derek Elston, Jordan Clarke and Brent Benson all out. Plymouth claimed their 11th win of the season on Friday night as they held off Surrey to win 78-72 with no points coming from the bench as all five starters hit double figures, including Emile Hopkins, who recorded a 13-point, 15-rebound double-double and had a posterizing dunk.
Image credit: Bristol Flyers TV
Results: Tuesday- Leicester Riders 66-63 Worcester Wolves. Wednesday- Newcastle Eagles 107-97 Manchester Giants, Glasgow Rocks 96-77 Surrey United. Friday- Newcastle Eagles 78-101 Cheshire Phoenix; Worcester Wolves 77-67 Leicester Riders; Surrey United 72-78 Plymouth Raiders; Leeds Force 62-70 Glasgow Rocks; Sheffield Sharks 96-87 Manchester Giants; London Lions 20-0 Durham Wildcats. Saturday- Bristol Flyers 79-54 Leeds Force, Leicester Riders 116-84 Newcastle Eagles. Sunday- Durham Wildcats 79-110 Worcester Wolves, Plymouth Raiders 85-100 Glasgow Rocks, Cheshire Phoenix 75-68 Sheffield Sharks, Manchester Giants 78-96 London Lions.
Standings: Eagles 31-5; Riders 30-6; Wolves 28-8; Phoenix 26-10; Rocks 21-15; Lions 21-15; Sharks 19-17; Flyers 13-23; Giants 12-24; Raiders 11-25; Force 9-27; Wildcats 8-28; United 5-31
Star 5: Bryquis Perine, Tayo Ogedengbe, Drew Sullivan, David Aliu, Robert Thurman