WORCESTER OFF TO A FLYER

BBL LOGO 568Worcester Wolves needed overtime on consecutive nights in order to preserve their perfect start to the season and top the table. Newcastle and Sheffield joined their rivals on 4 victories while Birmingham, Surrey and Manchester are still yet to get off the mark.

The second installment of BBL TV came via the Copper Box Arena on Thursday night as London Lions gave GB’s Matthew Bryan-Amaning a league debut against the unbeaten Wolves. In a low-scoring affair, Paul James’ men rallied late from five down to send the game beyond regulation where they would grab a 63-62 win.

The scoring picked up the following night but Worcester again found themselves behind in the final quarter only to recover and tie the game at 40 minutes again. Will Creekmore (28/22), Zaire Taylor (27/9/6) and Alex Owumi (23) combined for 78 points in the 94-90 win to continue their strong starts to the season.

Newcastle bounced back from their overtime loss in Plymouth by racking up 241 points over the weekend. They eased to a 129-70 win at home to Birmingham after all five starters recorded double-doubles before heading to Manchester and collecting a 112-98 success on the back of 32 points from Malik Cooke.

Birmingham hadn’t had the easiest of introductions but with road trips to Leicester and Newcastle out of the way, they welcomed Sheffield as top flight basketball finally returned to the Midlands city. It was almost the dream return as the Knights battled to stay with the Sharks throughout the game only to fall short at the death in a valiant 102-95 defeat despite 45 points from Brent Benson.

Surrey also showed major signs of improvement on Sunday in a 100-79 loss at home to the Durham Wildcats. New signing Ceslovas Kucinskas was a much-needed physical presence inside for United and a couple of 3-pointers helped him towards 24 points on a promising debut.

United’s captain Elvisi Dusha, who added 16 points, was pleased with the impact of the 6’8″ Lithuanian.

“Our new signing helped big time, we were strong and more confident of going inside which gave us more options. We were way better than our previous two games.”

Devin Ginty set the tone by opening the scoring with the first of his 7 triples on his way to a game-high 25 points as Durham made a 12-4 start. Surrey levelled with an 8-0 response but found themselves trailing 27-21 at the end of the first. The Wildcats broke clear in the second with RJ Evans adding 10 points to take the lead beyond 20 at half-time, 62-40 ahead. Dusha and Andy Tamayo led the way for Surrey in the second half driving at the Durham defence, chipping away at the deficit and they managed to edge the third 22-17 to head into the fourth down 79-62.

Mike Allison broke the deadlock in the fourth after three minutes and quickly went to 18 points with a couple of mid-range jumpshots. Kucinskas netted a triple before his ‘and-1’ play made it a 13-point game with time on the clock but Ginty ended any hope of a comeback with 3 dagger three’s before Kirk Crecco brought up the century in the final minute.

Ginty said after the game: “We got the win and we’re happy about that but we had our strong points and some weak points so we have things to work on. I didn’t do anything special today, the coach has been encouraging us to shoot when we’re open and Ralph (Bucci) and Kirk (Crecco) did a great job at driving the lanes and when the ball came back out, I took the shot.”

Plymouth Raiders made it back-to-back wins after inflicting a first loss on Glasgow with an 89-73 triumph in Scotland. Donald Robinson graced the Emirates Arena court as a Rock last year but returned to show them what they’re missing with a 30 point haul. The final game of the weekend saw Leicester Riders put on another defensive clinic as they eased to a 78-43 win on the road against Cheshire Phoenix. Drew Sullivan led the way with 19 points and 9 boards while only Reggie Middleton reached double-figures for the Nix with 15.

Top 5 notable performances of the week:

Malik Cooke- 59 points over the weekend. League’s top points scorer. Will Creekmore- huge 28pts/28rbs double-double after 17/7 the night before. Brent Benson- continued prolific scoring start with season-high 45 points. Stefan Gill- arguably the closest to a triple-double this season with 25/11/8 stat-line v Newcastle. Donald Robinson- returned to Glasgow and dropped 30 points on his former side to lead Plymouth to an important win.

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