The 39-year-old veteran, who later received MVP honours, knocked down four three-pointers in the fourth quarter to lift Eagles to a 96-90 victory, as the BBL Championship leaders and BBL Cup winners continued their pursuit for a triple crown.

Fab wins 2015 TrophySmith, now a six-time BBL Trophy winner, finished the game with 18 points and seven rebounds, with Scott Martin adding 20 points for Newcastle. Jamell Anderson also had 20 points for Riders.

Meanwhile, London Lions, Sheffield Sharks and Glasgow Rocks notched up wins in the BBL Championship to round an eventful Sunday evening.

Lions overcame a terrible opening quarter to take an 83-71 win against Durham Wildcats on the road in Newton Aycliffe, with Andrew Sullivan leading all scorers with a game-high 29 points.

Surrey United could not put up a fight against Sheffield Sharks, who led from start to finish, steamrolling the visitors 100-68 at the EIS Sheffield. Mike Cook double-doubled with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Olu Babalola added 18 points in a win.

In the final game of the day, Glasgow Rocks trailed for 36 minutes before turning up the throttle down the stretch to squeeze out a 67-59 win over the visiting Leeds Force.

Omotayo Ogedengbe had a game-high 22 points, while Keiron Achara posted a huge line of 20 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocks for the hosts.

Friday 20 March 2015
BBL Championship – Results
Newcastle Eagles 101 – 74 Bristol Flyers 19:30
London Lions 82 – 94 Cheshire Phoenix 19:30
Sheffield Sharks 85 – 72 Durham Wildcats 19:30
Saturday 21 March 2015
BBL Championship – Fixture
Surrey United 90 – 89 Manchester Giants 19:30
Sunday 22 March 2015
BBL Trophy Final
Newcastle Eagles 96 – 90 Leicester Riders 15:30
BBL Championship – Results
Durham Wildcats 71 – 83 London Lions 16:00
Glasgow Rocks 67 – 59 Leeds Force 18:15
Sheffield Sharks 100 – 68 Surrey United 16:00

P Team PL W L Pts
1 Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 28 26 2 52
2 Worcester Wolves 29 23 6 46
3 Cheshire Phoenix 31 22 9 44
4 Leicester Riders 26 21 5 42
5 London Lions 28 16 12 32
6 Glasgow Rocks 26 15 11 30
7 Sheffield Sharks 29 14 15 28
8 Bristol Flyers 32 12 20 24
9 Manchester Giants 29 11 18 22
10 Durham Wildcats 30 8 22 16
11 Plymouth University Raiders 27 7 20 14
12 Leeds Force 30 7 23 14
13 Surrey United 29 5 24 10
2014/15 League Table

Quote of the Week

Anthony ROWE 2014 - 1

When you play in a cup final it is just another level up. It has that ‘must-win-game’ feel and you can feel that as a player, the intensity levels are borderline on the maximum.”

Fab Flournoy’s side appear to have been playing at their maximum since the second night of the season, dropping just one game since then..Riders’ forward, Anthony Rowe

Phoenix defeat Lions and claim head to head

BBL Championship
London Lions 82 (24,42,65) (Cook 28, Taylor 17, Stibbins 16)
Cheshire Phoenix 94 (30,40,66) (Salisbery 23, Watt 20, King 19)


Cheshire Phoenix hit five three-pointers in the fourth quarter to win 82-94 on the road at London Lions, thereby securing the head-to-head between the teams and strengthening their grip on a top four spot, moving up to third in the BBL Championship table.

It ends a run of inconsistent form for Phoenix and is their first road win in three trips, as Dustin Salisbery hit 23 points, including 3/4 triples, and Taylor King made a double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds.

And the visitors raced into an early lead in a high-scoring start to this game, 6-17 up within five minutes as Salisbery scored seven. But the fifth-placed Lions needed a win to maintain any hope of finishing fourth, and they held Cheshire scoreless for two minutes while rattling off eight straight points, before a 7-2 run got them back to 29-32 as Zaire Taylor scored four and Lovell Cook hit a three-pointer early in the second.

Lions then went on to take the lead as Drew Sullivan scored twice to make the score 38-36 on the approach to half time, with the hosts maintaining their narrow edge.

And the third quarter followed a similar pattern after a flurry of lead changes, when Salisbery hit five in a row to put Phoenix back in front 48-52, only for Cook and Taylor to fire back with three-pointers to set up a decisive fourth quarter at 65-66.

But it was Cheshire’s long-range shooting that would win the game. David Aliu initially made an old-fashioned three-point play to give Phoenix a cushion, before King and Martyn Gayle hit triples in what became a game-winning 13-4 surge and a 71-79 lead. Simeon Naydenov came from the bench to add two more treys as they scored five in the last ten minutes, shooting 44% on the night, and cruising down the stretch.

Eagles prepare for another final with easy win

BBL Championship
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 101 (22,40,63) (Defoe 27, Fletcher 18, Jones 18)
Bristol Flyers 74 (13,32,53) (Perine 22, Bland 17, Lautier-Ogunleye 12)

Esh Group Eagles Newcastle prepared for Sunday’s BBL Trophy Final with a 101-74 victory over Bristol Flyers, completing a season sweep of their opponents and making it ten straight league wins, remaining unbeaten at home since the opening night (six months and 16 games).

Library photo

Library photo

Darius Defoe powered the hosts to the win, with his highest points tally since October on a double-double of 27 points and 12 rebounds. And it was he who got the Eagles off to a good start, making four early points for a 12-6 lead, before they finished the first quarter with eight unanswered points to lead 22-13 with Defoe already on 10 points and five boards.

But the Eagles didn’t score for the opening four minutes of the second stanza and, although the Flyers couldn’t capitalise as they only made two scores themselves, it was indicative of how this game would pan out as Newcastle didn’t manage to shake off their visitors until the latter stages.

Alif Bland and Byrquis Perine opened the scoring after half time to narrow the gap to 40-36 and Bristol were still in it at 54-59 heading towards the last two minutes of the third quarter. But Scott Martin’s ‘and-one’ play gave the Eagles momentum that they would carry into a massive fourth quarter, in which they scored 38 points.

It was a 12-2 run that settled the game as Rahmon Fletcher and Andy Thomson hit six points each to make the score 75-58. They then finished the game with a 15-2 surge to go through the century mark for the eighth time this season, Defoe adding seven more points and Andre Jones finishing off the scoring with six seconds to play.

It was a combination of that offence and stern defence that proved key for the Eagles: the 24 turnovers that they forced yielded 29 points, leaving Flyers teetering as they hold onto the final Playoff berth after a third straight defeat.

Sharks, now with numerous weapons, finally putting it together

BBL Championship
Sheffield Sharks 85 (26,49,68) (Cook 18, Holmes 17, Lewis 14)
Durham Wildcats 72 (10,26,37) (Urli 22, Jones 16, Buchberger 11)
BJ Holmes splits the defence.  Photo MPhotography

BJ Holmes splits the defence. Photo MPhotography

Sheffield Sharks have strengthened their position in the BBL Championship Playoff places with an 85-72 defeat of playoff-chasing Durham Wildcats, led by 18 points from Mike Cook and 17 from BJ Holmes.

The Sharks have never lost to the Wildcats in the BBL, dating back three-and-a-half years and now 13 games, and for Sheffield this was a third win in a row. But the playoffs now look a long way off for Durham, who have lost seven straight games and not won on the road since October (12 games).

And Sheffield took control from the outset of this one, racing into a 14-4 lead a Mike Tuck made consecutive scores and dished to Zach Gachette, before the lead reached 21-7 on Cook’s triple.

Nick Lewis hit a three-pointer early in the second stanza to send the lead through twenty at 33-12. And the game was settled by the end of the third quarter when the Sharks held their visitors scoreless for nearly five minutes and finished with 13 unanswered points, sparked by a Holmes three-pointer and including another one for Lewis.

It was only Sheffield’s third home win in the last ten outings, and they looked set for their biggest win of the campaign until a strong finish for the Wildcats. Durham scored almost as many points (35) in the fourth quarter as they had done in the previous three (37) as Fran Urli and David Buchberger each hit two three-pointers. A further Urli triple contributed to an 11-2 run as Durham won the fourth 35-17, but it was nowhere near enough after what had gone before.

Surrey United eek out a monster win

BBL Championship
Surrey United 90 (23,53,73) (Downing 31, Knutson 18, Coleman 17)
Manchester Giants 89 (26,43,71) (Bankevics 19, Eaves 18, Gill 18)

Anthony Downing put in one of the individual performances of the season, including a late game-winning shot, as Surrey United beat Manchester Giants 90-89 at Surrey Sports Park, ending an eight game, two month winless streak. Downing posted 31 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists on the night.

And the early stages of this game provided an indication as to what would come, with the teams rarely separated by more than one shot and tied for around five of the ten first quarter minutes.

But the hosts broke the game open in the second stanza, with an early 13-2 push sparked by Dominique Coleman’s three-pointer and Kramer Knutson adding four more. Coleman added another triple and the score went through double-digits as Downing added two more scores for 50-37. That was Surrey’s second highest scoring half of the season; Coleman hit three treys and was joined by Knutson and Downing already in double-figures.

But thereafter it was Giants who looked as though they would win the game. They levelled at 59 on an 11-2 run as Stefan Gill opened the third quarter with a three-pointer and Ingus Bankevics added five points.

Downing ensured that United carried a slim 73-71 lead into the fourth quarter, but Giants – desperately chasing a Playoff place – dominated much of the closing stages and looked to have it won as they held their hosts scoreless for nearly five minutes and David Watts hit a three-pointer in a 9-0 burst. Bankevics made two more treys – he was 5/7 on his way to 19 points on the night – and Giants led 80-89 with two minutes to play.

But they would not score again, as Downing hit four quick points and United scored all of the last 10. Coleman got them back to 88-89 inside the final minute, before Downing scored the winning basket under pressure with 17 seconds to play.

That left Gill with one last chance for Manchester, but he missed and Downing was there to snatch the rebound, completing his double-double. Giants have now lost four of their last five games and have had their Playoff hopes dented, currently sitting ninth.

Another Trophy for Newcastle Eagles

BBL Trophy (Final)
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 96 (28,45,71) (Martin 20, Smith 18, Fletcher 18)
Leicester Riders 90 (24,45,73) (Anderson 20, Hassan 13, Washington 12, Bernardini 12)
Eagles win 2015 Trophy

The dream season continued for Esh Group Eagles Newcastle, who earned another piece of silverware on Sunday after triumphing 96-90 against Leicester Riders in a nerve-racking BBL Trophy Final at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow.

Team captain Charles Smith, who scored 14 points in the final quarter, including four three-pointers, received the MVP honours after his clutch play down the stretch helped the BBL Championship leaders and BBL Cup winners to keep the hopes of a BBL triple crown alive.

There were no early-game jitters from either side, with both teams starting the first period with a barrage of three-pointers. Having gone 5-of-8 from long range in the opening frame, Eagles opened up a 28-24 lead, with Scott Martin leading the way with nine points.

After a positive start, Newcastle slowed down in the second quarter and Riders used this opportunity to level the game at 45-all at the halftime break.

Leicester led by as many as nine points in the third quarter, but Eagles erased the deficit with a 14-4 run. However, a three-pointer by Jamell Anderson right at the buzzer allowed Riders to carry over a two-point edge into the final period.

Trailing by five points midway through the fourth quarter, Eagles clawed back into the game and regained the lead at 90-88 after Charles Smith nailed a three-pointer to complete the turnaround, as Newcastle went on to seal the trophy from the free-throw stripe.

Scott Martin had 20 points, Smith finished the game with 18 points and seven rebounds, while Rahmon Fletcher chipped in with 18 points and eight assists.

For Riders, Jamell Anderson had 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting, with Neil Watson adding a double-double of 10 points and 13 assists.

Lions devour Wildcats on the road

BBL Championship
Durham Wildcats 71 (21,38,56) (Urli 24, Jones 17, Madourie 8, Buchberger 8)
London Lions 83 (9,30,59) (Sullivan 29, Taylor 18, Ikhinmwin 13, Stibbins 13)

Andrew Sullivan scored a game-high 29 points and dished out seven assists, pacing London Lions to a comeback win on the road against Durham Wildcats, as the visitors from the capital celebrated an 83-71 victory at the Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre on Sunday in the BBL Championship.

The fifth-placed Lions improved to a 16-12 record in the league standings, while Wildcats, now 8-22, saw their losing streak extended to eight games.

Durham got off to a surprisingly good start, taking a double-digit 21-9 lead after the opening quarter. However, the home side’s dominance did not last long, with Lions slowly taking control of the game from the point onward.

Down by eight points at the half, Lions turned things around in the second half, winning the third quarter 29-18 to turn the halftime deficit into a 59-56 advantage heading into the final quarter, before finishing off the turnaround with solid basketball in the fourth period.

Zaire Taylor collected 18 points for Lions, while Joseph Ikhinmwin and Makal Stibbins added 13 points apiece, with the latter also adding 12 rebounds.

Fran Urli put together a good performance of 24 points and seven boards for Wildcats, as Christopher Jones collected 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists.

Sharks crush hopeful Surrey United

BBL Championship
Sheffield Sharks 100 (25,47,73) (Cook 21, Babalola 18, Barber 14)
Surrey United 68 (13,29,51) (Downing 19, Knutson 13, Coleman 12)

There was little drama in at the EIS Sheffield on Sunday, with Sheffield Sharks registering a 100-68 blow-out win against the visiting Surrey United in the BBL Championship to strengthen their positions in the play-off race.

The hosts were firmly in charge throughout the night after exploding out of the gates with a 12-0 run that allowed them to build a 25-13 lead by the end of the first quarter.

However, there was no mercy to be shown, with Sharks increasing the gap to 18 points at the interval, before going on to push the margin to new heights after the break.

Sheffield made the most of their advantage down low, outscoring the visitors from Surrey 60-30 from inside the painted area, while shooting an excellent 50 percent from the field.

Six players scored in double figures for the Sharks, with Mike Cook leading the way with 21 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, Olu Babalola had 18 points off the bench, while John Barber added 14 points and nine boards.

Anthony Downing was one of the few bright spots for United with 19 points, while Kramer Knutson chipped in with 13 points and 12 rebounds in a losing effort.

Rocks too much for Leeds Force

BBL Championship
Glasgow Rocks 67 (11,26,39) (Ogedengbe 22, Achara 20, Middleton 11)
Leeds Force 59 (18,28,39) (Hall 19, McCann 16, Anebo 10)

Glasgow Rocks trailed for more than 36 minutes, but stepped up when it mattered most to claim a 67-59 victory over the visiting Leeds Force at the Emirates Arena in the BBL Championship.

A very solid start by the visitors from Leeds caught the hosts unprepared, as Force jumped out to an early 10-2 lead. Rocks could not get it going offensively and finished the opening quarter trailing 18-11.

The home side managed to erase the deficit with a couple minutes of the start of the second quarter, tying the game up at 21-21, but Force did not allow the Glasgow to proceed any further, maintaining a marginal lead.

Having entered the halftime break up 28-26, Leeds kept the home crowd on the edge of their seats, as the back-and-forth tussle continued right into the fourth quarter.

A 6-0 stretch to start the final period had put Force ahead 45-39, but Keiron Achara put an end to the run with a basket of his own on the other end. It was Achara’s shot swishing the net once again, when Rocks grabbed their first lead of the game at 52-50 with just under four minutes remaining.

Leeds were down by a single point with a couple of minutes left to play, but the visitors simply ran out of gas down the stretch, with Rocks going on to seal the win with a 9-2 run to wrap it up.

Omotayo Ogedenhbe had a game-high 22 points for the winners, Keiron Achara was close to an impressive triple-double with 20 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocks, while Reggie Middleton added 11 points.

William Hall scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Force, as James McCann chipped in with 16 points and six boards.

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