RIDERS PUNISH TWO-SHORT ROCKS


Short-handed Glasgow Rocks were crushed 76-56 by Leicester Riders as the Midlands outfit kept their thin title hopes intact.

Paced by 22 points from Ayron Hardy, the visitors heaped further misery on Glasgow who dropped their third straight.

“It was a solid performance from our guys, said Riders coach Rob Paternostro.

Without starting guards Mychal Green and EJ Harrison, the Kelvin Hall outfit  were 38-27 behind at half-time, Danny Huffor capped a 9-0 run from Glasgow which cut Leicester’s lead to 46-42 late in the third period.

However the visitors asserted themselves as the Rocks were punished for repeated mistake as their challenge faded.

“We put together some good runs in the second half but we just ran out of gas,” said Rocks player-coach Sterling Davis. “Every time we applied some pressure, we just couldn’t capitalise.”

Sheffield Sharks completed the season sweep over Milton Keynes Lions with a 92-84 road victory.

Ryan Patton and Olu Babalola were the chief tormentors of their hosts with 28 and 27 points respectively to see the visitors through.

After two heavy defeats already this season against the Sharks, the Lions must have been pleased to move into an early 15-9 lead on the back of former Sheffield player Justin Dobbins’s two.

However Sharks responded to tie the match at 17-17 on a Patton three before Demarius Bolds had the last word of the quarter to make it 19-17 for Lions.

Lions built a hand lead midway through the second quarter with Bolds connecting again to make it 33-24. Sheffield began their fightback through a Mike Tuck three and pulled within one at 39-38 on a Jimmy Langurst three-point play. Lions’ Nuno Pedrosa scored the final point of the half from the free thrown line to give the home team a 40-38 advantage.

As they had in Sheffield during their last meeting the Sharks excelled in the third quarter. A brief 44-40 lead was overturned by the Lions but once Sheffield had levelled the match at 51-51 on a Langhurst triple they scored 14 of the next 16 points to lead 65-53 heading into the final period.

Sharks stretched their lead out to 18 (75-57) on a Patton three before allowing the Lions to gradually close the gap throughout the remainder of the quarter without ever really getting within striking distance.

Cheshire Jets kept up their pursuit of a play-off spot and won bragging rights in the north-west of England with an exciting 84-79 victory over Mersey Tigers.

Colin O’Reilly continued his recent good form to lead Jets scorers with 22 points as they led from midway in the third quarter to keep their opponents at bay. Miles Hesson had a game-high 23 points for the visitors.

Tigers broke the match open from 10-10 with a 7-0 burst and they kept that margin until a Colin O’Reilly two for the Jets with a second left in the quarter made it 21-16.

Mersey had their biggest lead at 25-19 before the Jets levelled the match at 27-27. The score was still tied at 36-36 at half time.

After falling 47-46 behind the Jets assumed control with a 13-5 run before James Griffiths nailed a two on the buzzer to pull Tigers to within five at 84-79.

Jets always led in the final period as Mersey twice got back to a one-point deficit. The final time was 73-72 with 2.52 left on the clock and Cheshire responded with a 5-0 burst.

It was as close as the visitors would get as Jets held on.

Friday: Newcastle edge towards title.

Newcastle Eagles took a massive step towards the BBL title with a thrilling 87-79 win over Leicester Riders.

The Riders had overcome a big early deficit to lead 77-72 with less than five minutes to play, but Newcastle showed all their experience to rattle off the next 11 points.

When Leicester finally managed to move the scoreboard again Joe Chapman and Fab Flournoy kept their cool from the free throw line to seal the victory.

Plymouth Raiders kept their alive their hopes of the BBL title by holding off the fast charging Cheshire Jets 109-105 in Devon.

Leading 83-68 after three quarters the home side seemed to be more affected by a 20 minute delay for a new backboard after mascot ‘Foxy’ shattered it.

The Jets pulled to within two at 98-96 on a Bill Cole three before Gavin Love’s team recovered their composure with an Anthony Rowe three and free throws by Jeremy Bell and Lehmont Colbert to see out the win.

Guildford Heat secured a valuable road win in their fight for a play-off berth with an 83-75 victory at Mersey Tigers.

Martelle McLemore and Tayo Ogedengbe led the way with 16 points as an accomplished fourth quarter performance held off the Tigers, who led by 20 points by Miles Hesson.

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