Worcester Wolves are the league’s front-runners heading into the new year after defeating Birmingham for their fifth straight win. London suffered a defeat in Sheffield but saw off the threat of Newcastle to keep their own title challenge alive.
Paul James’ side claimed the outright lead at the top with a 102-72 win over the Knights, improving to a 13-3 record. Alex Owumi led all scorers with 24 points, Will Creekmore produced a 16-16 double-double and Zaire Taylor dished out 15 assists as the Wolves’ big three came up big once again.
The hosts made an overall 16 three-pointers with recent addition Kai Williams, and Daniel Belgrave each netting four on their way to 14 point hauls. Brent Benson had 18 for the visitors while Josh Rolls-Tyson added 16 & 9 as Birmingham fell to their 15th consecutive league defeat.
Sheffield had temporarily joined Worcester at the top with their win over the Lions on Friday as they used a strong fourth quarter display to pull away for an 81-70 success. The front court duo of Mike Tuck and Demetrius Jemison combined for 37 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Sharks to victory. Chez Marks led the Lions with 19 points on his debut.
Vince Macaulay’s men bounced back from their three losses in a row against their title rivals with an important 96-82 win at home to Newcastle. Rod Brown had 21 points and 11 assists as the capital side recorded their tenth league victory to remain in the hunt for the championship. Four Eagles’ starters were in double figures while Darius Defoe and Stuart Thomson added nine points each in the loss.
Leicester Riders have the best win-loss percentage in the league after moving to a 12-2 mark after a 70-60 win in Glasgow in front of the BBL TV cameras. The defending champions were dealt a blow ahead of the match as Anthony Downing was ruled out for the remainder of the season due to a jaw injury. However, despite his absence, his team-mates triumphed with Anthony Rowe adding a double-double off the bench while Jay Couisnard led all scorers with 18 points.
In the final game, Plymouth Raiders defeated a side above the bottom two for the first time since November 1st as they beat Manchester 90-74. Jay Marriott’s side are now just a win behind 5th place and are four points clear of the two sides below them in the standings. Matt Pressey almost added a second triple-double for the season with his 27-10-6 stat-line while Nick George scored 16 points against his former side.
End of 2013 Table: 1- WOLVES 13-3; 2- RIDERS 12-2; 3- SHARKS 12-3; 4- EAGLES 11-4; 5- LIONS 10-6;
6- RAIDERS 9-7; 7= ROCKS/PHOENIX 7-8; 9- WILDCATS 5-9; 10- GIANTS 5-11;
11= KNIGHTS/UNITED 0-15
Top 5 Notables:
Weekend highs: Matt Pressey- 27pts; Alex Owumi- 24pts; Rod Brown- 21pts
Stat: It was only the second time Lions have beaten Newcastle in the last 22 meetings.
Milestone: Will Creekmore became the first player to collect more than 200 rebounds. (205)
Double-double kings: Will Creekmore- 16-16; Anthony Rowe- 10-12; Zaire Taylor 10-15ast
Near triple-double efforts: Matt Pressey- 27-10-6
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