TRIO STAY UNBEATEN IN BBL

Newcastle Eagles, Leicester Riders and Plymouth Raiders all remain perfect after the third weekend of BBL Championship action.

For Raiders and Riders their winning starts to the campaign represent club records, but Plymouth coach Gavin Love had praise for Cheshire Jets – helmed by Chez Marks – after they made his side fight all the way for their 100-84 victory. “The Jets were tough and really pushed us, we must be more consistent in a few areas,” he said.

Michael Ojo was on fire from downtown and the difference maker with 27 points as Raiders improved their record to 3-0.

Riders produced a red-hot shooting performance to make it four straight wins with a 79-61 victory against Worcester Wolves. Pavol Losonsky had an impressive 22 points for Rob Paternostro’s team, while centre Barry Lamble did the work on the boards with ten rebounds to help Riders move into second spot in the BBL Championship table.

Leicester made it five straight wins on Sunday with a tight 79-74 victory at Durham Wildcats. The margin was 10 at 68-58 midway through the fourth period on a two from GB captain Drew Sullivan but still the Wildcats couldn’t be shook off as Mike Baldarelli made it 70-67. Finally the Riders put the match to bed as they went 78-69 up with 40 seconds to play and despite a three from Paul Elderkin there was no way back for Durham.

The Eagles are also still unbeaten after they scraped past a gutsy and impressive London Lions team 89-83. The Lions actually led by four points heading into the final quarter but just couldn’t sustain their momentum long enough to take a surprise win back home to the capital. Orlan Jackman and Tayo Ogedengbe both caused the league leaders problems all night with 55 points between them.

Former Mersey Tigers’ shooting guard James Jones came back to haunt his former employers as he finished with 17 point, 10 assist double-double for Manchester Giants as they won the north west derby 102-51. Understandably, Giants’ coach Jeff Jones was a happy man after the win: “We played pretty well and maintained our focus which was the most important thing, obviously the Tigers are struggling at the moment but to their credit they continued to play hard for the whole 40 minutes.

“From our perspective it was a game we were supposed to win and we played well at times and not so well at others but it gave me an opportunity to get lots of players much needed game time which was good.

“For us Dave Watts, Dave Aliu and James scored well for us and we got a solid contribution from Jack Minister as well as some points so from that perspective we were pleased with the game. We just need to continue to progress as a team and focus on getting better.

“Like I said the Tigers played hard for the entire game which was good to see, Rudy Etilopy and Gael Hulsen played well for them and the younger players for Mersy impressed mean with how they played.

Sheffield picked up their first win in the BBL Championship as they defeated Durham Wildcats 74-58. Atiba Lyons and his team were propelled to victory at the fifth attempt thanks mainly to a fine double-double of 16 points and 16 rebounds by Mike Tuck.

Surrey Heat hung on for an 84-78 victory against Glasgow Rocks after nearly blowing a big third quarter lead.

The hosts had led by 13 midway through the penultimate period before seeing the Rocks move in front at 71-69. However, Heat regained their composure to the finish the match on a 15-7 run to earn the victory.

Frank Holmes led the hosts with 20 points, but it was Rocks’ Donald Robinson who top scored with 27.

“It was a learning experience again,” Rocks captain EJ Harrison said. “We started badly, clawed it back but then made too many mistakes down the stretch and couldn’t get it down. Credit to Surrey for winning. But we now have two weeks to fix things and get focused.”

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