UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders kept up the pressure on the top three teams in the BBL Championship table thanks to a comfortable 71-99 victory over the One Health Sharks Sheffield at the EIS, Sheffield on Friday evening.
The opening quarter saw both teams trading baskets throughout with the lead changing hands on a number of different occasions.
An Andrew Lasker basket with three minutes left in the period saw the visitors open up a healthy six point advantage at 20-26, but baskets from Mike Tuck and Gage Daye saw the Sharks half the deficit by the end of the quarter as they trailed by three points at 26-29.
In the second quarter, the Raiders continued to maintain their advantage over their hosts, but could not shake off a resilient Sharks outfit as a three-pointer from Olu Babalola and a Zach Gachette basket trimmed the deficit down to a single point at 37-38 with 5:26 remaining in the half.
This was as close as the home side would get however as the visitors sought to end the half strongly thanks to a 10-4 finish to head into the locker rooms leading 41-48 at the half.
In the second half, the visitors maintained their advantage throughout the third quarter, but they were still unable to pull away from a Sharks outfit desperate to overturn the deficit, and when a Babalola three-pointer got the home side to within two points at 53-55, it looked like that might just be the case, but a Matt Schneck basket sparked the Raiders into life as they bagged a 16-6 tear to re-assert their authority on the game and took the score out to 59-71 with less than a minute remaining in the period.
The visitors held onto that 12 point advantage at the end of the quarter thanks to a Michael Ojo basket to send them into the final stanza leading 61-73.
In the final quarter, the Sharks tried valiantly to get themselves back into the contest, but the Raiders ended the home side’s resilience as they enjoyed a 13-2 burst to open the final period and take the score out to 63-86 with five minutes remaining in the game.
The home side continued to put every effort into the contest, but to no avail and Jeremy Bell put the exclamation mark on the game as his three-pointer at the end of the contest signalled a comfortable victory for the Raiders.
Ojo was the leading scorer for the visitors with 23 points, but it was Daye who led all scorers as he netted a respectable 26 points for the Sharks in the defeat.
The London Lions picked up a seemingly comfortable 94-76 victory over the Worcester Wolves at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, but it was anything but comfortable as they had trailed the Wolves by 19 points after the opening quarter.
The Lions spent the next three quarters clawing their way back into the contest and a 12-2 start to the final period saw the Lions take the lead for the first time in the contest with the score at 74-65 midway through the final term.
The Wolves got back to within a point at 74-73, but an 11-0 finish to the game from the home side saw the Lions secure the all-important victory with Orlan Jackman’s 22 points going a long way to help secure the victory.
The Eagles had a slightly easier time of things as they defeated Cheshire 94-69 at Sport Central with Darius Defoe leading all scorers with 19 points in the victory.
The home side led for the vast majority of the game, and enjoyed a 31-point lead at 63-32 midway through the third quarter. Despite a valiant effort from the visitors to get themselves back into the contest, the home side held on for the victory and keep up the pressure on the Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders at the top of the table.
In the final game of the night, the Heat closed the gap on the Riders to four points as they overcame the Mersey Tigers 54-74 at Knowsley Leisure and Culture Park. 18 points from Travis Holmes was enough to help the Heat to the victory as they inflicted the tenth consecutive defeat on the Tigers in the Championship.
Story – BBL
Photos – MPhotography
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