BBL Cup, North Group
Newcastle Eagles 72-82 Glasgow Rocks
(Newcastle – Shelton 16, Fletcher 15, Person Jr 12; Glasgow – Johnson 22, Jacdonmi 12, Minnie 12)
BBL Cup, South Group
Surrey Scorchers 85-86 London Lions
(Scorchers – Ogdengbe 24, McLemore 19, Jamison 16; Lions – Harrison 24, Kaboza 21, Welche 19)
BBL Cup, North Group
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 64-71 Cheshire Phoenix
(Sharks – Delpeche 14, Anderson 13, Nichols 13; Phoenix – Bradley 20, Ochereobia 18, Okereafor 17)
BBL Cup, South Group
Leicester Riders 84-85 Bristol Flyers
(Riders – Adekoya 15, Nelson-Henry 14, Crandall 14; Flyers – Jacob 21, Delpeche 16, Rogers 16)
It’s the night we’ve all been waiting for as the 2021/22 season got underway this evening with BBL Cup action across the country. Four fantastic fixtures delivered plenty of drama and talking points – let’s take a look at how the night panned out!
The Newcastle Eagles, holders of the BBL Cup after a super season last year for Coach Macleod, will have been brimming with confidence going into this fixture.
The last team standing at the end of May Madness, with a strong summer of recruitment to boot and the rafters packed with fans, coming up against the Glasgow Rocks who had endured a difficult campaign last year … on paper it was set up well for Newcastle to pick up where they left off.
This is why we love basketball, though, because the Rocks hardly put a foot wrong and left the Vertu Motors Arena on Friday night with a huge win to show for their efforts.
A tireless effort from Jordan Johnson, contributing 22 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in 33 minutes of play was the cornerstone of Glasgow’s success, which Elijah Minnie and Boban Jacdonmi complimented excellently with their own efficient contributions.
Duke Shelton was a monster in the middle for the Eagles as he racked up 16 points and 11 rebounds in just 18 minutes of action, and Rahmon Fletcher was his typically irrepressible self as he tried to spark his team into a winning run, but it never materialised and Gareth Murray’s Glasgow were good value for their win.
There have been some absolute thrillers between these two local rivals in recent times, and tonight’s encounter between the Surrey Scorchers and the London Lions certainly added another exciting chapter to the history books as an unbelievable comeback from Vince Macaulay’s side rescued a one-point victory against the odds.
The Lions went into the game with a squad ravaged by player absences due to self-isolations, meaning a young and developing team took to the floor to represent the Pride, but outscoring the home side by 10 in the final quarter saw the visitors pick up a last-gasp win.
Scorchers veterans Tayo Ogedengbe and Martelle Mclemore contributed 43 points between them, as four of the five starters for the home side scored in double digits, but it was the bench production where the Lions had the crucial contribution as Bradley Kaboza netted laced 21 points and collected seven boards to compliment the starting group.
Surrey were without Andrew Lawrence, Rob Gilchrist and Stanley Davis Jr. for this clash, who could return for the outing against the Leicester Riders on Sunday, but could this have been a missed opportunity for the Scorchers to get their BBL Cup campaign off to a perfect start?
Every game tonight was packed with drama, but this fixture between Atiba Lyons’ Sheffield Sharks and Ben Thomas’ Cheshire Phoenix was just incredible to watch, with the visitors coming out on top following a 22-9 fourth quarter.
The Phoenix started very brightly, winning the first quarter 22-11, but lapses in concentration at key moments coupled with excellent offensive execution from the home side saw them trail by six going into halftime.
A relatively relaxed third quarter saw both sides share it 16-apiece, but it was in the final quarter where the Phoenix really found their rhythm as they outscored the Sharks 22-9 to take an important opening BBL Cup victory, before facing the Manchester Giants in a local derby at Ellesmere Port Sports Village on Sunday.
Mike Ochereobia contributed a dominant 18 points and 19 rebounds for the Phoenix, scoring him a dizzying index of 34, which was well complimented by an impressive competitive debut for Great Britain Point Guard Teddy Okereafor who notched 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists – as well as some clutch shooting from the charity stripe – to help lead Cheshire to victory.
Keen to follow the lead of the fixtures that had taken place prior to this clash at the Riders Arena, Leicester Riders and Bristol Flyers did not disappoint as they did battle in the day’s later tip-off in what turned out to be another one-point nail-biter on a brilliant opening night of action!
Coach Andreas Kapoulas had said the Flyers laid some good foundations last week at the Mike Burton Invitational Tournament for success this year, and he surely will have been delighted with their progress on the practice court in the last week as his side never gave up in their battle for victory against the BBL heavyweights, Leicester.
Trejon Jacob led all scorers on the night with an efficient 21 points for the Flyers, but it was Josh Rogers’ performance which will have caught the eye for many as the club captain and stalwart put in a perfect shooting performance to notch 16 points alongside eight rebounds that helped the Flyers grind their way to a fantastic opening win.
The Flyers have a derby to look forward to tomorrow, where they’ll be hoping to carry this positive momentum forward against the newly-formed Plymouth City Patriots, whereas the Riders will suit up again on Sunday as they and the Surrey Scorchers look to get their first wins of this year’s BBL Cup competition.