The British Basketball League played games straight through to Tuesday night this week and thus the lateness of our regular BBL roundup from BallinEurope’s man in the UK, Sam Chadwick. We await his words no longer…
This past Friday saw four BBL Championships games, while Saturday saw the Wildcats take on the Raiders and the game one of the BBL Cup Semi-Finals with the Leicester Riders going up against the Eagles. The lateness of this post is also due to the Wolves going up against the MK Lions on Tuesday night, broadcast on Sky Sports 3.
Friday saw two teams from the bottom half of the table face off, when the Mersey Tigers narrowly defeated the Durham Wildcats, 85-81. The Tigers were led by David Aliu who finished with a 19-point, 12-rebound double-double to go with two assists; Myles Hesson had a double-double of his own in putting up 12 points and grabbing 10 boards; and Matthew Otten did a little bit of everything to total 13 points, four rebounds and six assists. The Wildcats had a good team effort in the loss, including 20 points and nine rebounds from Mario Flaherty; 12 points and 11 rebounds from Ralph Bucci; and lastly 24 points (including 4-of-8 shooting on threes), five rebounds and four assists from Paul Elderkin.
The currently undefeated Newcastle Eagles continued their run with a 90-67 victory over the Plymouth Raiders behind a 22-point, eight-rebound outing from centre Darius Defoe, who has been solid in the middle as of late – he notched 15 points and 14 rebounds last weekend. The Eagles also got 18 points, seven rebounds and three assists from Joe Chapman despite five turnovers; Andrew Thomson had a solid double-double with 10 rebounds and 13 points, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. The Raiders had a miserable shooting performance connecting on just 1-of-14 three-point attempts for a 7% success rate, while hitting just 34% from the field. In terms of individual stats, 2010-11 BBL MVP Jeremy Bell finished with just 11 points to go with eight rebounds while Anthony Rowe contributed 14 points and eight rebounds; however, it was Lehmon Colbert who led the way with 19 points and seven rebounds.
Sheffield Sharks, who are sitting at 2-4, got a one-point victory over the previously undefeated Worcester Wolves, 76-75, after 25 points from Team Britain PG Nate Reinking. Reinking was supported by 16 points from Justin Dobbins and 14 points from Jimmy Langhurst. For the Wolves, it was Richie Gordon leading with 23 points while Arnas Kaslauskas added 18 points and David “Tin-Tin” Watts chipped in 11.
Milton Keynes Lions lost a close game at home to Glasgow Rocks, 95-92, as the Rocks had another brilliant game from guard Mychal Green, getting 29 points, six rebounds and six assists from the former Canterbury Ram. Andrew Wedemire added 15 points, eight rebounds and five assists, while Danny Huffor continued to step up in the place of E.J. Harrison by contributing 18 points and four assists to go with five turnovers. For the Lions, league leader Demarius Bolds finished with just 17 points but added five rebounds, seven assists and five steals against four turnovers. Stefan Gill led the way in scoring with 19 points while Daniel Northern finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks. This game was mired with mistakes, as Lions and Rocks combined for 37 turnovers.
Saturday saw Durham Wildcats host UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders in what would be another closely contested game and finally went down as an 80-75 Raider win. Mario Flaherty had another double-double of 22 points to go with 10 rebounds; Mike Capocci added 20 points, six rebounds and three assists, while Paul Elderkin contributed 15 points and seven assists. For the Raiders, who again only had seven players to use, got 31 points from Jeremy Bell to go with four steals and five rebounds, Lehmon Colbert finished with 11 points, four rebounds and three assists while Anthony Rowe chipped in 13 points and eight rebounds to go with seven turnovers. The Raiders overcame 2-of-11 shooting from deep, while the Wildcats lost despite 73% free-throw shooting.
In the first BBL Cup semifinal, the game finished at 90-90 in a controversial draw between the Leicester Riders and the Newcastle Eagles despite the Eagles at one stage being up by 21 points. For the Riders, it was Bradd Wierzbicki finishing with 32 points, four rebounds and four assists; Brett Royster contributed 19 points, nine rebounds and four blocks on 88% from the field; and Ayron Hardy stuffed the stat sheet like a Christmas day turkey finishing with 18 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, four steals and three blocks while shooting 67% on field goals. This game showed a crucial difference between these two teams: Riders had just five points from substitutes, while the Eagles showed their depth with 28 bench points.
That wraps up the weekend’s BBL games here in the UK. Check back soon for more English Basketball news.
Sam Chadwick is the co-head coach of the Solent Kestrels U14 basketball team, along with dividing the remainder of his time among an assistant quantity surveyor job, university studies and sportswriting. Chadwick is now a contributor at BBLfans.com, and you can follow him on Twitter at @chadwick9.