A sparkling display by Andy Thomson propelled Newcastle Eagles into the BBL Cup Final as Fab Flournoy’s side held off Leicester Riders.

The forward claimed 22 points and 11 rebounds in a 71-63 victory as the Eagles booked their place against either Plymouth or Worcester at the National Indoor Arena next month with a 161-153 aggregate result.

Tied up at 90-90 after a phenomenal first leg, the Eagles strangled the life out of Riders and Thomson was the difference maker with the visitors always playing catch-up after a slow start.

However, helped by 16 missed free-throws, the Eagles almost allowed Riders to successfully complete another brave and epic comeback in a nervy finale before hanging on to send the majority of fans inside Sport Central into raptures.

Jets collapse

In the only BBL Championship game played on Friday, defending champions Mersey Tigers came back from the brink as they defeated Cheshire Jets 102-97 in overtime.

Having looked dead and buried with the Jets cruising early in the second half, Tigers launched a remarkable comeback from 65-47 behind to force the extra period and then secure a valuable home win as Jets fell apart.

Miles Hesson and Mathew Otten both claimed double-doubles for Tigers who moved above their rivals in the standings.

Jets missed the presence of the influential Matt Schneck despite Bill Cole’s haul of 34 points and 15 rebounds.

Pedroso shines

Nuno Pedroso came up big as Milton Keynes Lions defeated Worcester Wolves 99-82 on Tuesday evening.

In a back and forth first quarter, strong inside play from Richie Gordon, including ten points and a couple of blocked shots, helped Wolves to a 19-17 edge.

Eight straight points in the first two minutes of the second period from Lions’ playmaker Demarius Bolds forced Worcester coach Paul James to call a time out. However Lions continued to score freely and were able to disrupt the Wolves offence with their stifling defence. The first half ended with the home side in front at 44-36.

The pattern of Wolves carelessness carried over to the start of the third quarter with James once more needing to call a halt in order to calm his side. Trailing 54-41 with three minutes gone, the visitors caught a break when Tommy Freeman took an offensive charge from Bolds, sending him to the bench on four fouls.

Lions’ centre Daniel Northern joined Bolds on four fouls shortly afterwards and the Wolves fight back began. With Gordon once more dominating inside, and Freeman and then Arnas Kazlauskas scoring from distance, the deficit was soon reduced with a 13-2 as Demarius Bolds languished on the home bench with four fouls. With a minute remaining in the quarter the game was tied at 64-64 when Gordon was pulled to the floor and made both his subsequent free throws.

When England International forward David Watts was fouled in the act of scoring from outside the arc he was able to make the bonus shot, and his side moved into a 72-70 lead with just under a second remaining.

Milton Keynes guard Nuno Pedroso caught the inbound pass near the half-way line and optimistically heaved the ball towards the Wolves hoop. The ball outrageously banked in off the backboard to put the Lions back in front at 73-72. It was to prove a telling moment.

Urged on by a home crowd still celebrating his unlikely basket, Pedroso scored a quick five points to open the final period and helped put his side into an 82-74 lead with three minutes gone. When Bolds and Northern then returned to the court, the Wolves resistance crumbled. Numerous missed shots and casual defence ensued, leading to the final rout.

Lions’ coach Mike New was delighted with his team’s performance: “Our bench guys came through strongly until we got our big guns back in to seal the game.” But a disappointed Paul James was furious. “We were terrible,” he declared. “We ran out of steam and gave the momentum back to the Lions. We played into their hands.”

Gordon and Kazlauskas led the Wolves’ scorers with 27 points and 18 points respectively. Bolds and Pedroso both scored 20 points for Milton Keynes.

Friday 2

BBL Cup, semi-final 2nd leg (7.30). Newcastle Eagles v Leicester Riders (90-90)

BBL (7.30). Mersey Tigers v Cheshire Jets

Saturday 3

BBL (7pm) Durham Wildcats v Sharks Sheffield Sharks, Worcester Wolves v Mersey Tigers

Sunday 4

Glasgow Rocks v Newcastle Eagles (5pm), Cheshire Jets v Durham Wildcats, Guildford Heat v Worcester Wolves (3pm), Plymouth Raiders v Leicester Riders (4pm)

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • MySpace
  • Print

You must be logged in to post a comment Login