Bristol Flyers 72-77 Worcester Wolves (18-16, 34-35, 52-59)
(Flyers – Edozie 16, Okereafor 14, Baker 10; Wolves – Bouwknecht 19, Kimble 19, Burns 14)
London Lions 93-81 B. Braun Sheffield Sharks (23-16, 46-35, 71-56)
(Lions – Williams 25, Liggins 18, Alihodzic 13; Sharks – Hemsley 21, Nichols 15, Koch 14)
Newcastle Eagles 98-78 Glasgow Rocks (19-19, 42-34, 73-58)
(Eagles – Edwards 25, Fletcher 22, Maxwell 16; Rocks – Murray 18, Jacdonmi 15, Malcolm 12)
Surrey Scorchers 90-98 Plymouth Raiders (23-32, 49-42, 67-73)
(Scorchers – Hicks 18, Ogedengbe 18, Cashaw 16; Raiders – McGill 20, Morsell 19, Neighbour 16)
With the league-leading Leicester Riders not in action on Friday night, the three other teams in the top four all took the opportunity to close the gap, with two games live on Sky Sports, while there was also a key win at the other end of the Play-off race.
Currently in second-placed, Newcastle Eagles closed out the night under the lights with a big 98-78 home win over their northernmost rivals, Glasgow Rocks, as the backcourt of Cortez Edwards (25) and Rahmon Fletcher (22) combined for half of their points, Fletcher adding 11 assists.
After Glasgow held a surprise lead in the second quarter, Eagles hit the last 11 points of the half and held their visitors scoreless for three minutes, as Evan Maxwell scored six in that run before Fletcher and Edwards ran the floor to beat the buzzer for 42-34 at the break.
The game was settled when Fletcher scored six points in an 11-2 finish to the third period, as Eagles improved to 15-8 with a third straight win.
Meanwhile, the third-placed Plymouth Raiders produced a big late comeback to beat Surrey Scorchers 98-90 on the road, despite being short-handed, to make it eight wins in a row in league play.
The teams traded big runs throughout a game that saw ten lead changes, and Raiders found themselves in a five-point hole inside the final four minutes.
But they finished on a huge 15-2 surge, sparked by an ‘and-one’ play from Mike Morsell, before Will Neighbour hit a corner three that gave Plymouth the lead back at 90-88.
Raiders closed the game out at the line, as Morsell scored 16 of his 19 points in a second half that Plymouth won 56-41, while Ashley Hamilton had a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds, with 6 assists, off the bench and Rickey McGill led the scoring with 20.
In fourth place, with games in hand, London Lions returned to form to move to 13-7 as Dirk Williams and DeAndre Liggins shone in the early tip-off on Sky Sports, beating B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 93-81.
Lions asserted themselves straight out of the blocks, leading 14-4 as they held Sharks scoreless for nearly four minutes and attacked the rim early, scoring 12 quick points in the paint through Orlando Parker and Chris Tawiah.
They never trailed thereafter, and the lead peaked in the third period when Lions were again quick out of the locker room, leading 57-40 when Williams hit three triples, including two back-to-back to cap an 8-0 burst.
Williams led all scorers on 25 points, making 5-6 (83%) from long range to condemn his former team to a fifth defeat in six; while Liggins scored 18, with 10 assists and four steals.
Finally, Worcester Wolves in seventh put further daylight between themselves and the eighth-placed Bristol Flyers as they won the M5 derby 77-72 away from home, taking the head-to-head with Flyers in the process as guards Maarten Bouwknecht and Lamarr Kimble scored 19 each.
There were 14 lead changes in the game and Wolves hit the last nine points of the third period, seven for Kimble, to establish a 59-52 lead heading into the decisive fourth period.
They needed that cushion as Flyers came back to temporarily regain the lead on a Ben Mockford three-pointer inside the final three minutes; but it was Bouwknecht who came up clutch as he made a big shot to put Wolves back in front at 73-72 with a minute and a half to play, before icing all four of his free-throws down the stretch.