Guildford Heat moved into sixth place in the BBL with an 88-85 home victory over Leicester Riders. But tensions spilled over with a post-game dust-up involving players from both teams.

It marred an excellent performance by the hosts who put together a 5-2 run over the last 90 seconds of the match to cap a comeback from as much as 10 points behind in the second quarter.

An 11-2 Guildford run cut the deficit to 46-45 at half-time and, with Martell McLemore, pulling the strings with a team-best 18, the Heat swept 73-66 ahead early in the fourth.

Leicester responded with a 7-0 run which put them 81-80 ahead but McLemore broke the stalemate with a free throw before Michael Martin and Julius Joseph saw their side home. JR Blount led Leicester with 19.

Mersey Tigers reclaimed top spot with a simple 92-68 win over Essex Pirates.

It looked like it was going to be a tough night for the Tigers when Pirates hung around for a long time in the second period. The visitors audaciously led 35-34 but would only score four more points before half time as Mersey found their range.

Two Max Cassanove free throws gave Tigers the lead for good, which was extended to four by another Jones three as a 17-4 run put Mersey clear 51-39 at the interval.

Even without the injured Drew Sullivan, Mersey sped clears they moved out to 69-51 at the end of the third with their lead peaking at 29.

Cheshire Jets pulled off a narrow 68-66 victory over Sheffield Sharks.

The first quarter was Jets v Steve Dagostino as the point-guard scored 14 of Sharks’ 20 points, including four of five three point shots.

Jets raced out to a 6-0 lead before three Dagostino triples and a two helped Sheffield move 10-13 in front. Cheshire finished the opening period well though with a Gareth Murray basket edging the home team 22-20 ahead.

It was Jets turn to rain in the threes during the second quarter. Murray made two before the irrepressible Dagostino responded in kind to make it 28-23.

Veteran Calvin Davis got in on the act from beyond the arc to give Jets their biggest lead of the first half at 36-27. And despite good work from Marcus Stout the Sharks could only trim one point off the Cheshire lead by half time (40-32).

Sharks slowly clawed their way during the third quarter. Seven points from Dagostino in a 15-6 run gave them a 55-54 lead with just ten minutes to play.

The final period belonged to the Jets though as they moved 68-62 in front with 2.29 to play. They wouldn’t score again by two missed free throws by Olu Babalola proved crucial as Stout’s four late points proved to be not enough.

Jets coach Paul Smith said: “It was a hard physical struggle; possibly the hardest of the season. The match lacked fluidity but from our point of view it was an important win.

“And will take winning ugly if it means we get the points. The defensive effort to keep the Sharks under 70 points was excellent and that is what won it for us in the end.”

Worcester Wolves maintained their push to break into the play-off places by edging out  Milton Keynes Lions 99-95.

Wolves hit last five points of the first half to lead 55-46 at the break and despite Lions trimming the gap to four midway through the third they were 81-71 ahead heading into the fourth period. After Yorick Williams was fouled making a three the veteran swingman made all them from the line to cut the gap to three with 21 seconds remaining. And a Clarke layup made it two, Wolves kept their cool from the line.

“It was a very important win to help in the head to head against Milton Keynes,” said coach Paul James.

“It was difficult with Danny Gilbert being out but it meant other guys had to step up including Sam Cricelli who did great job on Shawn Myers.”

Saturday: Rocks challenge crumbling

Glasgow Rocks hopes of landing their first British Basketball League title sustained a massive blow after a damaging 84-72 defeat at Leicester Riders.

Sterling Davis’ men, who drop into fourth place with three losses more than Newcastle and Mersey, never recovered from a poor first quarter in the Midlands despite a haul of 18 points and 12 rebounds from Nick Livas.

Harris was instrumental for Leicester

Leicester – led by 23 points from Joe Harris – led throughout the game after a quick 7-0 start in the opening three and a half minutes. The closest that the Rocks got was to within one point at 27-26 in the second period.

However the Riders made their decisive run soon thereafter: the score became 44-33 with a 10-2 push, as Harris flirted with a first half double-double with 13 points and 8 rebounds.

Guildford Heat produced a late surge to deny Worthing Thunder a second successive win as the BBL Trophy finalists grabbed a 100-86 victory on the south coast.

The Heat led by double-digits at the end of the first quarter, before being on the receiving end of a 21-point swing in the second – trailing 50-41 at the half.

But Carlos Medlock with 25, and Martell McLemore with 24, sparked the Heat into life, taking the lead for good on McLemore’s three-pointer midway through the fourth to go 80-78 in front in what became a decisive 16-1 surge.

Sherrard Prezzie-Blue notched a game-best 30 for the struggling Thunder.

Elsewhere, Danny Gilbert hit a game-high 29 points as Worcester Wolves thrashed Essex Pirates 112-75.

Worcester Wolves scored 41 first quarter points as they eased to a 112-75 victory over the Essex Pirates. They made it three home wins in a row as they hit fifteen three-pointers on the night with six for England international David Watts, who had 21 points.

As Gilbert and Rod Middleton shared five early triples, the advantage quickly swelled to 37-9 and it was 41-16 after the opening ten minutes with a 74% field goal accuracy and 6/8 from three-point territory.

There was no way back for the BBL’s bottom side, paced by 18 from Zac Gachette.

Friday: Plymouth devour Tigers

With Drew Sullivan sitting injured on the bench, Mersey Tigers suffered a blow to their BBL title hopes as they sustained an 88-81 upset at the hands of Plymouth Raiders on Friday night.

The loss in Manchester cost Tony Garbelotto’s men the opportunity to go top of the table as the visitors used a 9-0 fourth quarter run to stamp their authority over the tie.

Sheffield Sharks – led by 33 from Steve Dagostino – produced a late surge to beat Glasgow Rocks 93-86 as Atiba Lyons’ men kept themselves in the title race.

Sterling Davis’ men rallied from 11 points down to surge ahead in the fourth, leading by five points at 72-67, until the Sharks broke the game open again with a 13-5 burst to lead 80-77.

Six points from EJ Harrison for the Rocks gave them the lead back at 83-82 but a six point response from Paul Williams off the bench for the home side gave them a 90-85 lead which they would not relinquish. Nick Livas hit 19 for Glasgow.

Adam Williams hit 36 points as Worthing Thunder picked up only their second win of the league campaign with a shock 95-88triumph at Milton Keynes Lions.

Demarius Bolds scored 34 for the hosts whose slump out of play-off contention continues.

Wednesday: Heat torch Worcester

Recent arrival Carlos Medlock grabbed 19 points as Guildford Heat tightened their hold on a place in the BBL Championshiplay-off positions, drawing level on points with seventh-placed Plymouth with a 102-83 victory over Worcester Wolves.

“I’m happy with the win tonight, but that is only part of the job,” said Heat head coach Creon Raftopoulos. “And now we have to focus on our game against Worthing Thunder on Saturday.”

Worcester started the game the stronger and opened up an early 7-2 lead, but the Heat got themselves right back into the game with a 10-2 response to take the lead at 12-9.  Both sides traded baskets for the remainder of the period and it was the home side who held a 24-19 lead at the end of the first quarter.

In the second period, three-pointers from Ralph Hegamin and Martelle McLemore helped the home side take the score out to 32-21, but they could not shake a strong Wolves effort as 10 points from Justin Dobbins in a 17-4 tear helped the Wolves re-take the lead at 36-38.  Oscar Ociepa bagged the final four points of the half for the Heat however to hand the home side a slender two-point lead at 40-38 heading into the locker rooms at the half.

A 14-2 burst for the Wolves at the start of the third period saw the visitors take the lead at 47-52.  Both sides traded baskets for a short period where the lead changed hands on a couple of occasions before a Justin Dobbins picked up a technical foul and the Heat took full advantage as Julius Joseph bagged the free throws to spark a 6-2 finish to the third period to give the home side a 67-63 lead heading into the final stanza.

In the final period, a Dobbins basket at the start of the period closed the gap to three points at 68-65, but the Heat pushed on from that point onwards as they broke the game open with a 16-1 tear to take the score out to 84-66 with 5 minutes remaining in the game.  The Wolves tried desperately to get themselves back into the game but they could not get any closer than 14 points at 90-76, while the Heat enjoyed their biggest lead of the game at 98-77 off the back of an 8-1 tear with 1:19 left in the game and a three-pointer from McLemore put the icing on the cake for the hosts.

McLemore added 18 points for Guildford while Dobbins hit a game-high 26 points for the Wolves.

Raftopoulos added: “It was an outstanding team performance and we had to totally focus on our defence and limiting the production of Rod Middleton and Daniel Gilbert which we managed to achieve.”

Image courtesy: Ville Vuorinen /

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