BBL Trophy LogoRecently crowned BBL Cup champions Leicester Riders had a weekend to forget after crashing out in the first round of the BBL Trophy as well as losing at home to London Lions in the league. Meanwhile, Bristol Academy Flyers are the only EBL side into the quarter-finals after beating Surrey United.

Rob Paternostro’s men had won their last nine matches against each respective opponent but suffered back-to-back defeats. A poor final quarter was crucial in their 78-73 home defeat against the Lions as Rod Brown led all scorers with 23 points and eight assists. 24 hours later and the Riders suffered an 86-78 loss in the Trophy as Cheshire continued their billing as one of the hottest teams in the league.

Reggie Middleton was influential with a 32-7-10 performance as one of four starters who played the full 40 minutes. Victor Moses added yet another double-double with 17 points and 10 boards while Devan Bailey also contributed 17 points. A Jay Couisnard three made it a two point game in the final minute before the ‘Nix sealed the win with the final six points. It was the perfect response from Cheshire following their tight defeat at Newcastle on Friday night after going down 103-100 despite 39 points from Middleton. Charles Smith produced a vintage display for the Eagles with an incredible 37-10-6-5 stat-line.

John Lavery’s side are rewarded with a home quarter-final tie against Bristol. The Flyers, joining the BBL next season, showcased their potential with an impressive 91-75 win over a buoyant Surrey side, still on a high from their first win last weekend. The hosts had four players in double digits and were led by 17 year-old Dwayne Lautier-Ogunley, who had a 19 point haul. Ceslovas Kucinskas led United’s resistance with 25 points and 14 rebounds as the BBL side missed out on back-to-back victories.

Elsewhere, in the BBL Trophy, fellow EBL sides Leeds Carnegie and Essex Leopards were unable to pull off upsets after being overpowered by Glasgow Rocks and Newcastle Eagles respectively. The Rocks cruised to an 84-48 victory in Leeds while Malik Cooke led the Eagles to a dominant 101-73 success over the Leopards.

The final EBL side invited to compete  in the first round were the Reading Rockets and after a strong fight, they were unable to get the better of the defending Trophy champions as Sheffield won 85-73 behind Nick Lewis’ 33 points.

Manchester were able to put their final quarter collapse against Surrey behind them as they eased into the next round of the Trophy with a 91-74 win over the Birmingham Knights. David Watts top scored with 26 points on 5-7 shooting from beyond the arc while three players recorded double-doubles for the visitors, led by Brent Benson’s 25 points and 10 rebounds.

In the final first round game of the weekend, Plymouth defeated Durham 90-81 despite a couple of roster changes. Chris Hines and Sam Martin made their debuts in place of the released duo of Trevor Setty and Shane Walker and it was another late addition who stole the show as Nick George had a game-high 35 points.

BBL Trophy QF Draw:

Newcastle Eagles v London Lions/Worcester Wolves
Plymouth Raiders v Sheffield Sharks
Manchester Giants v Glasgow Rocks
Cheshire Phoenix v Bristol Academy Flyers

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