NEWCASTLE KEEP TITLE RACE ALIVE

Owumi Flournoy 568Leicester Riders must wait until Saturday at least to secure the BBL Championship. Newcastle Eagles kept the title race alive a little longer after crushing Worcester Wolves  102-87.

Charles Smith had 40 points for Newcastle who pulled away with an 8-0 start and were never troubled again.

The Wolves tried valiantly to get themselves back into the contest, but the Eagles proved too strong as they continued to stretch their advantage and enjoyed their biggest lead of the 94- 68 midway through the final period.

Alex Owumi paced Worcester with 26 points.

Sheffield Sharks pulled out a late run to see off Glasgow Rocks 62-52 and pull out their fifth consecutive win.

Donald Robinson led the Rocks with just 14 points but the visitors were out-scored 17-4 in the closing stages as their offense was frozen out.

It leaves Glasgow in fifth place in the British Baskethall League with just four games of the regular season left. And after suffering consecutive reverses for the first time in 2013, Davis admits his side urgently need to pick up the pace before the play-offs begin.

“It’s all about who’s playing the best basketball going into the play-offs,” the American said. “And we want to make sure we’re right there. It’s important that we get some momentum over these last few games.”

The Rocks held Sheffield to just ten points in the second period to draw level at 28-28 at half-time. Scoring was problematic but after trailing the Scots at the start of the fourth period, Sheffield found their touch. Sparked by a game-high 20 points from BJ Holmes, the BBL Trophy winners accelerated over the final three minutes to wrap up victory.

Meanwhile Rocks player-coach Sterling Davis has revealed he’s already starting plotting a challenge for next season’s British Basketball League title. However he has surged his existing squad to use the last five weeks of the current campaign to make their case for new deals.

“This the time when you do start to think ahead,” said the American, who has one more year to run on his own contract. “I’m not in a position to make any moves today but the owners, the general manager, me, we are talking quite a bit about where we go from here. But I don’t want to let the focus switch off too much from achieving what we want to this season.”

Davis has targeted the end of season BBL play-off crown next month as he attempts to finally break his duck and land the first major trophy of a coaching career. With record attendances this term and fresh investment in the club, there is more pressure on the Texan to deliver silverware but he believes the pieces are in place to turn Glasgow into a major force in British basketball.

“We have all the pieces here,” he said. “We have the atmosphere and the facilities to do it. That’s what our goal is. Hopefully, the move to the Emirates Arena will have an impact this summer in attracting players here. We’ll be pro-active. And we want to help this organisation grow. This is the best place to play in the BBL so we need to try and have the best team as well.”

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