- National Teams
The first month of the New Year came to a close over the weekend with more twists and turns around the league.
Cheshire Phoenix enjoyed a big derby win, while Leicester Riders and Newcastle Eagles continue to keep picking up wins as the top three look clear in the Championship.
Latest results: BBL Championship: Eagles 88-83 Flyers, Riders 75-73 Sharks, Rocks 86-93 Scorchers, Raiders 97-74 Giants, Riders 103-76 Scorchers, Giants 70-88 Phoenix – BBL Trophy: Flyers 73-74 Eagles
They should have been in Poland competing in Europe, but it wasn’t to be. And, looking on, the Lions would surely have felt they would have made it out of the group stages. As it is, they’ll return to domestic league action this weekend with a home game against Plymouth with barely anything to split between the top three at the moment in early signs of a thrilling Championship race.
Watching these dudes, would have been light work 💪🏾 #FIBA
— Vincent Macaulay (@Vincemacaulay) January 27, 2021
Next game: v Plymouth Raiders (H) – CH – 7th February
A double-header against the Flyers for the Cup champions and after being pushed all the way in their five-point league victory, the Eagles survived a major scare to advance in the Trophy by a single point and keep their winning run going in all competitions.
Rahmon Fletcher dished out 15 assists on Friday night, Justin Gordon was putting opponents on posters and it was relatively comfortable despite the final scoreline. Last night’s Trophy encounter couldn’t have been more different as the Eagles found themselves in a 30-13 hole after 10 minutes before using all their experience to battle back with Fletcher holding his nerve to sink a pair of free throws in the dying seconds.
Next game: v Worcester Wolves (H) – CH – 5th February
Geno. Crandall. What a special talent, and William ‘HaHa’ Lee is no joke either as the duo help the Riders continue their momentum with contrasting wins over Sheffield and Surrey at the weekend to match the Lions’ 8-1 league record.
Crandall finished with 18 points, five rebounds, seven assists and the game-winner against the Sharks before top scoring with 19 points in a dominant win against Surrey. Lee added a double-double in the two-point win on Friday night, and Leicester host Manchester this Friday before a trip to face Glasgow with a chance to take the outright lead at the top.
— Geno (@genocrandall) January 29, 2021
Next game: v Manchester Giants (H) – CH – 5th February
The Raiders keep rolling as they enjoy a change in fortunes with three straight wins in all competitions to halt their earlier slide in the league. Ashley Hamilton led a balanced scoring attack with 21 points in their emphatic win against Manchester to draw level on wins with their fourth-placed opponents.
Plymouth’s lead peaked at 27 points in a convincing display and will be looking to continue their push for a top-four spot when they renew their rivalry with Bristol on Friday night before a tough test at the Copper Box Arena to take on the league-leading Lions to close out the weekend.
Next game: v Bristol Flyers (H) – CH – 5th February
A tough weekend for the Giants as they suffered back-to-back defeats in the league to see their grip on fourth spot loosen. They went down by 23 points away at Plymouth before an 18-point loss at home to Cheshire, albeit without Lyle Hexom, Jordan Whelan and Jack Hudson for the double-header.
Sam Cassell poured in 24 points on Friday night and top scored again with 16 points in the derby clash as the Giants were unable to recover from slow starts in both encounters. A big weekend sees Danny Byrne’s side visit Leicester before welcoming Sheffield two days later as they are now just a single win ahead of eighth.
Next game: v Leicester Riders (A) – CH – 5th February
The Wolves had to postpone multiple games following self-isolating requirements with the team set to return to action this weekend in a scheduled visit to face Newcastle.
Next game: v Newcastle Eagles (A) – CH – 5th February
Things are looking up for the Phoenix. They moved into the top eight with an impressive win away at North-West rivals, Manchester, despite the absences of Jimbo Lull and new signing Matthew Bryan-Amaning.
Kahron Ross led five players in double figures with 20 points, while Kyle Carey stepped up with 15 points along with five assists and three blocks in the 18-point victory. Cheshire raced out of the blocks to lead by 27 points at half-time and the damage was done. Onto the Trophy.
Derby Day Win: @CheshireNix finally get one over @McrGiants beating them on the road 88-70 in the @BBLofficial. @ByAnyMeans_3 with a game high 20 points, 5 Rebs and 3 assists whilst compatriot @jjh4_ had 19, 9 and 2. #BritishBasketball pic.twitter.com/iYRhG4CnmI
— Mansoor Ahmed (@IAmAhmedphotos) January 31, 2021
Next game: v Hemel Storm (H) – TRO – 7th February
In a dramatic finish, the Sharks fell to another loss as they dropped to below .500 in the league with a two-point defeat at Leicester. Having trailed by 10 with just over four minutes remaining, Sheffield rallied with a 9-0 run and later tied the game on Jordan Ratinho’s three. Then Geno Crandall happened.
Ratinho had 14 points as one of three players in double figures with the Sharks still not firing on the offensive end. They face Glasgow with the chance to avenge a recent defeat, on Friday, while their road game against Manchester is an important clash between two teams with similar league records.
Next game: v Glasgow Rocks (H) – CH – 5th February
Heartbreaker for the Flyers on Tuesday night as they let slip a 19-point advantage over Newcastle in the BBL Trophy – just a few days after a five-point league loss to the same opponents that saw them drop outside of the current playoff spots.
Bristol rallied late in the North-East on Friday as they cut a double-digit deficit into a respectable losing margin with a 22-10-5 line from Eric Lockett. However, they couldn’t have wished for a better start in the Trophy as they jumped out to lead 30-11 inside the opening quarter. Despite seeing their advantage wiped out by the third, Bristol moved back ahead late on, only to be undone from the foul line in a one-point defeat.
Next game: v Plymouth Raiders (A) – CH – 5th February
A much-needed win on the road against Glasgow was followed a crashing back down to Earth as Surrey fell to a 27-point loss in Leicester. Creon Raftopoulos made another roster change this week with Lovell Cook joining Skyler White in departing.
Tayo Ogedengbe top scored with 18 points against his former side in the win over the Rocks with Emondre Rickman having one of his better games with 14 points and 13 rebounds as Surrey dominated the battle of the boards as they doubled their win tally in the league. It was a tough afternoon against the Riders, despite a bright start and the Scorchers next turn their attentions to the start of their Trophy campaign.
If you didn’t attack Monday like @Erickman41, you’re doing it wrong 😳
— Surrey Scorchers (@surreyscorchers) February 1, 2021
Next game: v Thames Valley Cavaliers (H) – TRO – 5th February
Another showing on Sky Sports for the Rocks, another defeat, but this time it was an improved display as they battle the Scorchers in a bottom-of-the-table clash. Glasgow had a three-point lead at half-time before giving up 30 points in the third and going on to lose by seven.
Ronald Delph had 25 points and 10 rebounds with player-coach Gareth Murray adding 20 points in the full 40 minutes, while Christian Keeling also netted 20 points. The Rocks drop to the bottom of the league standings with a double-header against Sheffield and Leicester to come this weekend.
Next game: v Sheffield Sharks (A) – CH – 5th February
* Bristol Flyers 0-20 Surrey Scorchers – BBL Cup (COVID-19 regulations)
* Surrey Scorchers 20-0 Bristol Flyers – BBL Cup (COVID-19 regulations)
* Manchester Giants 0-20 London Lions – BBL Cup SF (COVID-19 regulations)
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