BBL LOGO 568Worcester Wolves moved back into pole position in the BBL Championship following an impressive 69-62 triumph in Leicester, sealing the head-to-head between the two sides. The Riders slip into second and are joined by Sheffield, London and Newcastle, all on a 7-2 record, causing traffic at the top of the table.

And it was traffic that afforded Worcester an extra day’s rest ahead of the vital clash as their league game against Surrey was postponed. Paul James’ side had trailed at the half and heading into the fourth but a 15-2 start to the final quarter swung the balance in their favour and some clutch free-throws down the stretch were enough to close out the game. Alex Owumi led all scorers with 20 points while former Rider Zaire Taylor stepped up with 19 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists to inflict a first home defeat for 30 matches on his former side, in a run that had dated back to February 2012.

Sheffield also lost their place at the top after London Lions extracted revenge with a dominant 78-55 victory in their BBL TV clash. The capital side had been comfortably beaten in the BBL Cup last week by the Sharks but returned the favour to make it five straight wins in the league. Kramer Knutson came to the fore with a 16-13 display while BJ Holmes was the only player on the visiting side to reach double-figures, with a 17 point haul.

Newcastle kept themselves in the hunt ahead of a vital clash with Worcester next week by inflicting a heavy 103-51 defeat on Manchester. Scott Martin led five scorers in double-figures with 21 points whilst pulling down 12 boards and the American added another double-double 24 hours later as the Eagles moved into the last four of the Cup with an 81-69 win in Scotland over the Rocks. Malik Cooke excelled in what started off as a low-scoring affair and finished the encounter with a game-high 27 points.

It capped another poor weekend for Glasgow. Player-coach, Sterling Davis called for change earlier in the week, replacing leading scorer Chez Marks with GB international Alex Marcotullio in the hope of a change in their fortunes. However, they slipped to a 2-6 record in the league after Durham recorded their first-ever win over the Rocks in their ninth meeting with an 85-72 success. Danny Huffor took a leaf out of Donald Robinson’s book in returning to haunt his former side as the Scot produced a team-high 17 points.

The Wildcats weren’t able to make it a perfect weekend though as Cheshire Phoenix picked up an important win with a hard-fought 75-68 success at the Northgate Arena. Reggie Middleton became the first player to pass 200 points in the league this season with a 22 point haul while Victor Moses continued his dominant start with 22 points and 14 rebounds. The Nix moved to within a win of Durham and were joined on three wins by Manchester.

Bouncing back from Friday’s defeat, the Giants were in rampant mood against Surrey as they powered their way to a 102-60 win. Stefan Gill and David Aliu combined for 53 points while Rob Mardsen raced out to an early double-double and ended with 11 rebounds to compliment his 15 points. As for United, Ceslovas Kucinskas led the resistance with 20 points but his side slipped to an 0-8 record.

Birmingham also fell to an eighth league defeat as Plymouth returned to winning ways with an emphatic 119-72 triumph. The Raiders had ten scorers led by Donald Robinson as they improved to a 6-4 record on the season to keep in contention just outside the top  5. Emile Hopkins had 14 points for the Knights, who fell away after a bright start.

Notable performances:

Weekend highs: Donald Robinson, Malik Cooke & Stefan Gill- 27pts
Perfect: Gabe Haskins- 13pts (5-5 FG inc. 1-1 3PT; 2-2 FT)
Season Milestones: Reggie Middleton- 1st past 200pts (215). James Jones- 1st past 50 assists.
Double-double Machines: Victor Moses- 22-14; Ralph Bucci- 21-15; Scott Martin- 21-12/12-10
Near triple-double attempts: Ralph Bucci- 15-9-10 & Reggie Middleton- 22-7-7

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