NEWCASTLE ADVANCE, LEICESTER CLOSE ON CUP
- Updated: December 3, 2012
Newcastle Eagles will get the chance to defend the BBL Cup next month after booking their place in the final, where they look likely to be joined by Leicester Riders.
Eagles let a 17 point lead from the first leg slip against Plymouth Raiders before eventually winning 190-181 on aggregate, while Riders won 90-70 at Sheffield to put one hand on a trip to the NIA.
Raiders won 91-83 in the north east of England, having sent the game into overtime with a 89-72 lead at the end of regulation time. The Eagles showed their credentials in the overtime period and, when their backs were against the wall, dug out a dominant spell to win 11-2 in overtime, their defence ultimately winning the game for them.
Newcastle were led 19 from Charles Smith and 18 from Damon Huffman while Kareem Maddox had a massive double-double of 14 points and 21 rebounds. Matt Schneck beat that for the visitors, with 28 points and 16 rebounds.
Meanwhile, Riders took a massive step towards the finale with a dominant performance at the EIS. Jay Couisnard was the inspiration with 21 points and eight rebounds, supported by 14 each for Anthony Rowe and Zaire Taylor.
In the BBL Championship, Leicester stay two points clear of Newcastle after a bruising 85-73 win over Glasgow Rocks. A fourth quarter collapse ended a run of five straight wins for Sterling Davis’ men who were led by 25 points from Donald Robinson.
But Rocks captain EJ Harrison vowed that his side will not slump back out of contention.
The American said: “We played decently in the first half but in the fourth we were terrible and that’s what happens. I think it’s just a blip. We have no excuses. Guys just didn’t play well and when you do that, you lose. But I’ve confidence in this group. We’re not going away.”
Leicester led 47-44 at half-time but pulled away with a 10-0 run in the second half as Glasgow were held scoreless for over six minutes. Anthony Rowe paced the Riders with 25 points.
Newcastle bounced back after that loss against Raiders as Kareem Maddox and Darius Defoe starred in a 96-73 road win at Cheshire Phoenix.
The pair both claimed double-doubles, sharing 42 points and 22 rebounds as the Eagles ensured that just like Riders, they still only have one league loss to their name so far.
Raiders overcame a slow start at the Pavilions and posted a scorching final quarter to sweep aside Worcester Wolves 87-65, as not for the first time lately, the visitors imploded in the final quarter of a game. They were outscored 31-10 in the last ten minutes to crash to a seventh league loss of the season as Michael Ojo and Javarris Barnett combined for 47 points to keep Raiders well placed in the title race.
At the other end of the standings, Sharks completed a win double over Durham Wildcats to record their third BBL Championship victory of the season. Having already beaten Wildcats earlier in the campaign, they claimed an 88-73 win at Newton Aycliffe.
Mike Tuck wreaked havoc inside with 27 points, and he was well supported by new signing BJ Holmes who had 16 points and five assists.
Cheshire dominated from start to finish to win 92-65 at hapless Mersey Tigers, completing a 3-0 season sweep over their rivals. Alif Bland and Jerome Gumbs each scored 22 points for the winners.
Giants’ poor run continued as they went down 83-71 at Surrey Heat. The home side had led by as many as 15 in the second quarter but Giants battled back to take the lead midway through the third quarter. Led by excellent displays from Chavis Holmes and Sam Cricelli the Heat re-found their form to keep the pressure on the top two in the BBL Championship.