- National Teams
Only one unbeaten team remains in the BBL Championship through two weeks and all 11 sides are off the mark in the win column.
In another busy weekend of action, several teams split double-headers, while Plymouth Raiders and Manchester Giants both fell to successive defeats after strong starts to the season, on the whole.
Latest results: BBL Championship – Wolves 84-76 Giants, Lions 101-95 Raiders, Riders 74-64 Sharks; Scorchers 74-70 Phoenix, Flyers 96-54 Rocks; Raiders 61-63 Rocks (OT), Sharks 87-62 Flyers, Phoenix 99-110 Lions, Giants 84-98 Eagles
[denotes position from previous week]
The Riders are the only team with a perfect record in the league through two weeks, but were made to work hard to preserve their 100% status. They were down by eight in the first half against Sheffield before getting it together and pulling away in the second half and holding the visitors to 29 points.
William Lee top scored with a highly efficient 17 points with Conner Washington adding 13 off the bench with minutes spread across the eight-man rotation with no player on the court for 30 minutes. Two more home clashes this week as they face Glasgow in the Cup, and then host Bristol on Sky Sports.
— Leicester Riders (@RidersBball) December 12, 2020
Next game: v Sheffield Sharks (H) – CUP QF – 16th December
Newcastle responded to last week’s loss to Plymouth with a 14-point win in Manchester to improve to 2-1 in the league as they pulled away in the third quarter.
Justin Gordon put up a game-high 28 points with Rahmon Fletcher posting 22 points and nine assists, while Cortez Edwards missed out on a triple-double with a 15-12-8 stat-line. The Eagles return home to face Bristol in the Cup last eight on Wednesday before a league double-header for a chance to take top spot.
Next game: v Bristol Flyers (H) – CUP QF – 16th December
More like it again from the Lions as despite giving up 95+ points in both encounters, their offence fired in wins over Plymouth and Cheshire to get back on track in the league.
The Lions started slowly again on Sky Sports but recovered to dominate the middle periods as they poured in 67 points in the second and third periods before eventually winning 101-95 against the Raiders. DeAndre Liggins had 19 points and 11 assists and followed up with 23 points and eight assists as London overcame Cheshire on the road to complete a double-winning weekend.
Next game: v Plymouth Raiders (A) – CUP QF – 16th December
This type of weekend felt on the cards for the Raiders, but few would have expected them to be beaten at home to Glasgow given the start they’ve had, and seeing them lose to their rivals win by 50+ the night before.
Plymouth made a great start against London on Sky Sports, but all of a sudden needed a fourth quarter surge to make it a game as they went down by six with Ashley Hamilton netting 31 points. They managed to squander a 17-point advantage in a low-scoring game as they scored 15 points in the final 15 minutes, including the extra period – and had a golden chance to force double overtime, too.
Paul James’ side have another meeting with the Lions as the two teams lock horns for a place in the semi-finals of the Cup before they visit Manchester in the league at the weekend – and they still have more wins than any other team so far.
Next game: v London Lions (H) – CUP QF – 16th December
There was caution in putting the Giants into the top four just yet, and they dropped to .500 in the league with losses against Worcester and Newcastle over the weekend.
Despite the defeats, Danny Byrne’s side remained competitive and that will be really encouraging moving forward. Breaon Brady hauled in 22 rebounds to go with 27 points in the home loss against Newcastle as the third quarter proved costly in giving up 33 points, while the Wolves had pulled away late on Friday.
Two more home games follow this week as they take on Surrey in the Cup before an intriguing clash with Plymouth in the league.
Next game: v Surrey Scorchers (H) – CUP QF – 16th December
The Wolves finally snapped their losing run and did so at the expense of a resurgent Manchester Giants side. Matt Newby still awaits his American contingent but his current crop of players stepped up to hold off their opponents for an eight-point win.
Maarten Bouwknecht had the hot hand in the first half and finished with 29 points in the victory with Micah Elan adding 21 points, while Jordan Williams filled the stat-sheet and Matthew Bryan-Amaning recorded a double-double.
No quarter-final in the Cup for the Wolves, and their weekend schedule is as tough as it comes with road trips to take on Newcastle and London – two wins would be top of the Christmas wish-lift for their fans.
Next game: v Newcastle Eagles (A) – CH – 19th December
They may have split their weekend double-header, but the Sharks definitely came out more positive than teams around them. Jeremy Hemsley put up 38 points on the weekend with the American continuing to provide just the scoring impetus the team needed.
Atiba Lyons’ side pushed the Riders close on Friday night, leading by as many as eight before falling away down the stretch. Their offence let loose on their home floor two days later with Antwon Lillard, Hemsley and Kipper Nichols combining for 54 points as they raced clear to lead Bristol by 25 at half-time on their way to the win.
Next game: v Glasgow Rocks (A) – CH – 20th December
Consistency is key, and it will be important in a competitive league this season. Bristol opened the week with a dominant club record league win against Glasgow before suffering a 25-point loss on the road to Sheffield.
Marcus Delpeche was unstoppable with 15-of-18 shooting for 32 points on a career night on Saturday, but the Flyers were left to rue a lapse first half against the Sharks as they conceded 55 points in the first half and the 25-point margin would remain the same at the buzzer.
Ben Mockford made his Flyers debut in joining fellow GB team-mate Teddy Okereafor and the duo will be hoping to help their side recover when they head to Newcastle in the Cup.
Next game: v Newcastle Eagles (A) – CUP QF – 16th December
Well, well. Quite the weekend in the South-West for the Rocks. Another huge testament to the character of the team as they followed up a crushing 52-point loss at Bristol with a stunning two-point win in overtime against Plymouth having trailed by 17!
A 37-3 third period summed up a horror night against the Flyers, but Gareth Murray’s 45-minute effort showed the way for his team less than 24 hours later with clutch threes in a 21-point haul against his former side, while Isa Brandon added 19 points and 11 rebounds in the win.
Whether they can they have more of those Sunday performances compared to the one on Saturday remains to be seen, but impressive nonetheless from Glasgow ahead of their quarter-final clash in mid-week.
Great response from @rocksglasgow after last nights game. Great to see Coach G out there ballin’. I think he was locked in ‘player mode’ which allowed him to show exactly what he is still capable of doing. @coachmarriott just wanted to tag you, just because.
— Kieron Achara MBE (@KieronAchara) December 13, 2020
Next game: v Leicester Riders (A) – CUP QF – 16th December
It wasn’t convincing, but it was a win and that’s what matters for the Scorchers. Creon Raftopoulos inserted Evan Walshe and Martelle McLemore into the starting lineup to change things up and Walshe, in particular, seized his chance to shine with an all-round display that also included a vital offensive rebound down the stretch.
The Scorchers trailed 2-10 early on, but got going with a 14-0 run sparked by McLemore and Walshe and the home side opened up a lead as large as 13 in the fourth and held on for a four-point win.
Surrey visit Manchester in the Cup before facing Bristol on Saturday afternoon and today announced the return of Tony Hicks in a further boost to their squad, which could prove a pivotal moment for their season.
Next game: v Manchester Giants (A) – CUP QF – 16th December
No sooner than they made a rise of three spots, Cheshire revert back to the foot of the standings after dropping to 1-3 in the league. They would have felt confident about prevailing on the road at Surrey but after cutting the gap down from 13 to 1 in the final quarter, they came up short.
Cheshire put up 99 points on the Lions on Sunday, but the visitors hit 18 threes at better than 50% accuracy to come out on top in the shootout. Jalen Hayes had 25 points in defeat and Cheshire face another tough test on their home floor this weekend as Newcastle head into town.
Next game: v Newcastle Eagles (H) – CH – 20th December
* Bristol Flyers 0-20 Surrey Scorchers – BBL Cup (COVID-19 regulations)
* Surrey Scorchers 20-0 Bristol Flyers – BBL Cup (COVID-19 regulations)
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