Newcastle Eagles 70-90 Sheffield Sharks (18-26, 33-40, 42-62, 70-90)
(Eagles: D.Defoe – 18, E.Maxwell – 17, E.Matthew – 8; Sharks: B.Koch – 14, K.Nichols – 14, A.Lillard – 13)
Worcester Wolves 82-104 Plymouth Raiders (13-27, 46-54, 62-76, 82-104)
(Wolves: B.Anderson – 18, M.Bouwknecht – 17, L.Kimble – 15; Raiders: A.Hamilton – 22, R.McGill – 22, M.Morsell – 16)
Bristol Flyers 69-71 Cheshire Phoenix (10-18, 24-38, 42-57, 69-71)
(Flyers: B.Mockford – 19, J.Wilcher – 13, M.Delpeche – 13; Phoenix: M.McCall – 23, J.Hayes – 15, P.Gordon – 10)
Manchester Giants 86-93 Surrey Scorchers (31-27, 50-49, 72-77, 86-93)
(Giants: D.Marshall-Johnson – 18, B.Brady – 18, S.Cassell Jr – 12; Scorchers: T.Hicks – 20, C.Hildreth – 17, M.McLemore – 14)
Surrey Scorchers shined under the pressure of the Sky Sports cameras this evening, defeating Manchester Giants, while the Cheshire Phoenix, Sheffield Sharks and Plymouth Raiders all also recorded victories to ensure all the away teams competing today would add points onto the BBL Championship standings.
The Sheffield Sharks won the opening game of the evening, beating a Newcastle Eagles side who uncharacteristically struggled on offence, while the Sharks had five players contributing double-figures to the scoreboard – as well as 24 points shared around amongst the rest of the roster.
Captain Mike Tuck led the offence for the Sharks, scoring 12 points and getting five assists which was matched by Jeremy Hemsley who dropped 13 – a total equalled by in-form guard Antwon Lillard and only beaten by Bennett Koch who started off the bench.
Eagles’ veteran Darius Defoe shone, dropping a season-high of 18 points, with Evan Maxwell following shortly behind, but usual suspects Cortez Edwards, Justin Gordon and Rahmon Fletcher struggled to replicate their recent form against a resilient Sharks defence.
The next game saw the Plymouth Raiders also win by a margin of 20 points or more, thanks to standout performances from Rickey McGill and Ashley Hamilton – with both dropping 22 points each, supported by Mike Morsell and Denzel Ubiaro who added 16 and 15 points respectively.
The Worcester Wolves didn’t particularly struggle on offence, as Brandon Anderson and Maarten Bouwknecht again impressed with their shooting – making 60% and 71% of their shots respectively, but the Wolves 6 more turnovers than the Raiders and their struggles in stopping the visitors’ pressure in the paint proved costly.
Meanwhile in Bristol, the Cheshire Phoenix were put under enormous pressure in the final quarter by the Bristol Flyers who came back from a 15-point deficit to tie the game with seconds to go thanks to Ben Mockford, but Mike McCall’s circus-shot three pointer broke the home side’s heart, after they actually went ahead for the first time in the game with the shot which they thought won the game.
Instead, the Phoenix secured the points, thanks to huge performances from McCall and captain Jalen Hayes who managed totals of 23 and 15 points respectively, both in under 30 minutes of game time – while Pharroh Gordon secured a 10 point – 12 rebound double-double.
Marcus Delpeche achieved a huge double-double for the Flyers, dropping 13 points and grabbing 19 rebounds, and while Ben Mockford’s tally of 19 points with a field goal percentage of 70%, accompanied by 13 points from Josh Wilcher, the total was just short.
As the day came to a close, the Surrey Scorchers took the final two points on offer live on television, beating the Manchester Giants thanks to a second-half flurry which saw them score eight more points than the hosts after what was a very close affair in the first-half.
Tony Hicks and Cam Hildreth continued their hot streak of form, scoring a combined 37 points – but they may be disappointed their numbers were not higher, while new signing Lacey James added an intimidating presence in the paint into the equation.
The Giants, led by Breaon Brady and Donovan Marshall-Johnson, both dropping 18 points, had enough good performances to win the game – with Jack Hudson and David Ulph combining well off the bench and Alex Ouandie and Sam Cassell Jr also reaching double figures for scoring, but unfortunately could not make enough stops to halt the Scorchers in the second-half.
The results today leave the winners Plymouth Raiders in 4th, Sheffield Sharks in 5th, Cheshire Phoenix in 6th and Surrey Scorchers in 10th, while the teams that lost, Newcastle Eagles remain 2nd, Manchester Giants drop to 7th with Worcester Wolves in 8th and Bristol Flyers in 9th.