Patriots win again in OT, Lions protect top spot, Giants edge thriller and Riders romp road trip
Plymouth City Patriots 98 – 93 (OT) Newcastle Eagles (27-22, 26-22, 15-16, 16-24, 14-9)
(Patriots – Gadsden 28, Hassan 25, Dusha 12; Eagles – Johnson 20, Defoe 19, Gordon/Cohn 15)
London Lions 82 – 64 Bristol Flyers (24-18, 22-8, 20-21, 16-17)
(Lions – Koufos/Nelson 18, Best 16, Hruban 11; Flyers – Watson-Gayle 17, Bell Iii 16, Olison 13)
Manchester Giants 70 – 65 B. Braun Sheffield Sharks (22-22, 22-17, 13-12, 13-14)
(Giants – Lee 17, Fletcher 16, Green/Roberson 13; Sharks – Delpeche 12, Ratinho 10, Nelson/Pipkins 9)
Cheshire Phoenix 91 – 105 Leicester Riders (28-26, 19-32, 19-23, 25-24)
(Phoenix – Anderson 24, Jack 17, Evans 14; Riders – Mackenzie 31, Loving 22, Love 20)
In a day full of BBL action, the Plymouth City Patriots edged out another overtime win, this time against the Newcastle Eagles. The London Lions won the battle at the top against the Bristol Flyers. The Manchester Giants held out in a close game against the B. Braun Sheffield Sharks. And the Leicester Riders ran riot away from home against the Cheshire Phoenix.
The Newcastle Eagles travelled 400 miles to the Plymouth Pavilions to face off against the Plymouth City Patriots – both teams playing their second games in just three days.
Ty Gadsden’s 28 points led the home side to a 98-93 overtime win, with Rashad Hassan reaching the huge milestone of 4,000 BBL points, on the back of his 25 points and 12 rebounds.
Kyle Johnson’s 20 points and Hasahn French’s 10 points and 19 rebounds were not enough to help the Eagles to victory.
The game started with a very high-scoring first quarter that saw a combined total of nearly 50 points.
They exchanged buckets throughout the first three minutes, with the score 11-10, after Plymouth scored three triples in three consecutive possessions.
Hassan put his defender on skates when he put the ball down and crossed him over, before laying it in to give his side a three-point advantage with seven minutes played (20-17).
With the first period nearing its end, the Patriots’ captain pulled up from distance to drain a long three and put his team up 25-22.
Newcastle made it a one-possession game (27-24) in the first play of the second quarter, when Darius Defoe was fouled on his fadeaway and converted the and-one.
Plymouth started pulling away when Markedric Bell finished the and-one play following an overhead pass from Gadsden – giving the hosts their first double-digit lead of the game (40-29).
Led by their intense defence, the Patriots made the Eagles’ life very difficult and extended their lead to its highest margin on 13 points (42-29) when Jules Dang Akodo collected the long rebound, ran the court and dished to Bell for a one-handed dunk.
The visitors fought back, and a 5-0 run capped off by a long-range triple from Javion Hamlet forced Plymouth’s coach Paul James into a timeout with the score 42-34.
Coming out of the timeout, Hassan scored his 10th point of the game (44-34), which marked his 4,000th BBL point.
Hamlet continued to battle, and with a beautiful eurostep floater he brought the Patriots’ lead down to seven (47-40), with just over two minutes left until half time.
With one minute left in the second quarter, French thread an eye of the needle pass to Johnson under the basket for the reverse layup and made it a single-digit game once again (52-44).
The second half started with Plymouth extending their lead to 58-44 when Hassan laid the ball in off the back of three offensive rebounds by his team.
The Patriots’ offence continued to put on a show when Elvisi Dusha found James Hawthorne Jr on the fast break for the easy two (60-46).
That’s when David Cohn stepped up big time and scored 10 points consecutively in the space of two minutes to turn the game into a thriller.
A hook shot by Hassan gave Plymouth a much needed score with four minutes left in the third (62-56).
The two teams then exchanged a couple of blocks, with French blocking Hassan, before Johnson blocked Dusha.
Despite the excellent fightback from Newcastle, and the 10-0 run by Cohn, the hosts managed to build a double-digit lead again before the end of the third period, with Gadsden running the floor and faking the pass on the two-against-one, before finishing with a finger-roll.
The fourth quarter started with Defoe cutting the Patriots’ lead down to six (68-62).
A three by Dusha, off the assist by Akodo – which marked the latter’s 300th in the BBL – saw the difference go up to nine (71-62), with just a couple of minutes played in the fourth.
The visitors went on a 9-0 run, and managed to take their first lead of the game since the first quarter, when Justin Gordon hit both of his free throws with six minutes left to play.
An excellent Plymouth fast break found Gadsden wide open for the layup, putting the home side up by three (81-78).
Another block exchange then ensued, but with the score 84-82 and the Eagles in control of the final possession with eight seconds left, Gordon jabbed stepped and drove to the basket, laying it in, sending the game to overtime – the second for Plymouth in the space of three days.
The Patriots managed to get a commanding lead after Gordon’s unsportsmanlike foul on Gadsden gave the hosts a five-point lead (93-88), with 90 seconds left.
Plymouth then extended their lead even further when Gadsden got out of the press at the half-court line and found Hassan under the basket who laid it in (95-88).
A three by Defoe gave the Geordies some hope (95-91) with a minute left, but that was extinguished when Hassan rose for the huge jam and called game.
With this dub – the second in overtime in three days – the Patriots move to a record of 10-13, while the Eagles drop to 6-16.
The second game to tip saw the league’s top two teams face off against each other when the London Lions welcomed the Bristol Flyers to the Copper Box.
The Lions came out victorious 82-64, led by Kosta Koufos and Luke Nelson on 18 points, with the former NBAer recording a double-double as he collected 11 rebounds.
Jelani Watson-Gayle with 17 and Thomas Bell III with 16, were the top scorers for the Flyers, who remain second in the BBL Championship, despite the loss.
The first quarter saw a free flowing 10 minutes of basketball with both offences on top.
London built a seven-point lead within the first three minutes, before Bristol found their rhythm and made it into a one-possession game when Brandon Mahan hit the free throw after the Greek international was issued with a technical foul (14-12).
The two teams then exchanged buckets to close out the first 10 minutes of action with the hosts ahead 24-18.
The hosts opened the second quarter ahead 24-18, but the limited their opponents to just eight points in the following 10 minutes.
The Londoners started the period hitting two threes – from Nelson and Aaron Best – extending the lead up to double digits for the first time (30-18).
Bristol – who were scoreless for the first three-and-a-half minutes of this quarter – finally got off the mark when Bell III hit 1/2 free throws.
With the first half winding down, the Lions went on a 9-0 run to go up by 21 points (44-23), before going to the locker rooms up by 20 (46-26).
The second half was a much more balanced affair, with the Flyers winning each of the two quarters by one point.
Halfway through the third, however, London increased their lead to a game-high 24 points when Best laid the ball in to make it 60-36.
An 11-5 run from Bristol closed out the period, reducing the gap to 19 points going into the final 10 minutes (66-47).
While the visitors had been gaining momentum, six unanswered points for the league leaders saw them extend their lead to 73-47, when Mo Soluade converted on his jumper.
A layup by Jordan Taylor saw that lead go up to 27 just a minute later (75-48).
An 8-0 run by Bristol closed the gap down to 19 (75-56), with the two teams then exchanging baskets until the final buzzer.
With this win the Lions extend their lead at the top of the standings and now sit at a record of 20-2, while the Flyers fall to 18-7.
The Sheffield Sharks made the 40-mile trip to Manchester in vain, as the at-home Giants came away with a close win, 70-65 in the third contest of the day.
William Lee’s 17 points and Rahmon Fletcher’s 16, led the way for the victors, while Marcus Delpeche scored 12 for the Sharks.
Nothing separated the teams in the first 10 minutes, and it finished tied at 22 apiece.
Neither side got a lead larger than five points in that opening period, with Manchester leading 13-8 after six minutes.
Sheffield fought back and went on a 9-0 run, to take a four-point lead (13-17) when Delpeche made 1/2 of his free throws.
Manchester and Sheffield continued to exchange points throughout the second period, before the Giants went on a 7-0 run when Tajh Green made a layup – putting the hosts up 40-35.
They kept the five-point lead going into halftime, and the third quarter was an equally close, and lower scoring affair, with defences on top form.
Manchester put together a 6-0 run to take their first double-digit lead of the game (51-41).
A 5-0 run by Sheffield then saw them cut the difference back down, before the Giants scored the last points of the period at the seven-minute mark – meaning that the final three minutes were scoreless.
The fourth quarter was also a defensive showdown, with the hosts building a double-digit lead (61-51) when Anthony Roberson made both of his free throws.
A 6-0 run by the visitors closed the gap down to four (61-57), off the back of two pairs of free throws.
The Sharks tied the game with five minutes left to play, when Devearl Ramsay hit a jumper.
Just when it looked like the tide might be turning in favour of the visitors, Manchester went on a 5-0 run to take the lead once more and give them a bit of a cushion, off the back of a mid-range jumper by Roberson and a triple by Lee.
With the lead being so slim, the home side knew they had to keep their opponents out – restricting them to just two points in the final four minutes and securing the victory.
With that win the Giants move up to fifth place on a record of 12-11, while the Sharks fall to 8-16.
In the final contest of the day, the Cheshire Phoenix welcomed the Leicester Riders to Ellesmere Port, with just two places separating the two sides in the league standings, but the visitors got a win on the road.
Kimbal Mackenzie led the Riders with an epic 31 points, followed by Marc Loving’s 22.
Jamell Anderson put in an excellent display for the Phoenix, but his 24 points on 81% field goal shooting could not get his team the win.
The game started with both teams firing on all cylinders, combining for 54 points, and the difference between them never got higher than seven points.
A step back saw Tahjai Teague created some separation from Darien Nelson-Henry and drilled the triple, giving Cheshire a three-point lead (14-11).
Anderson then extended that lead to five (19-14), by driving towards the middle and getting the and-one.
Maceo Jack increased it to seven (23-16), after Marcus Evans found wide open off the cut.
Leicester gradually closed the gap to a one-possession game by the end of the first period, when Jubril Adekoya drove and dished it to Carrington Love in the corner, who nailed it from downtown to close the first quarter two points down, 28-26.
Evans for the Phoenix and Mackenzie for the Riders opened the second quarter for their teams, respectively.
The visitors managed to get their first lead of the game (30-31) since early in the first quarter, when Mackenzie scored an and-one after the first minute of the second period.
Jack hit a three for Cheshire, then Loving answered for Leicester, but Jack got the upper hand and hit nothing but net once again off the excellent Cheshire ball movement (38-39).
Another triple by Loving after the drive and dish by Blake Bowman saw the Riders get a six-point lead (38-44), with six minutes to go until the half.
Loving used his excellent footwork to fake out his defender for the short-range jumper, before Mackenzie found a cutting Zach Jackson for the dunk (44-49).
Leicester managed to get their first double-digit lead of the game off a 7-0 run when Mackenzie picked up the fumble and drained a long triple right on the halftime buzzer, to send his team to the locker room up by 11 (47-58).
Leicester came out hot in the second half, extending their lead to 15 (47-62), when Nelson-Henry hit a jumper on the first possession, before Jackson stole the ball and dunked it on the very next play.
Mackenzie scored two consecutive baskets to increase the difference to 17 (55-72) and force Phoenix coach Ben Thomas into a timeout.
With three minutes left to go in the period, the visitors increased their advantage to 21 points on the back off an 8-0 run, when Loving finished off an excellent fast-break with a wide open layup.
Mackenzie connected from behind the arc to give his team a game-high 22-point lead (59-81) with less than two minutes left in the third.
The Phoenix didn’t give up and went on a 7-0 run (66-81) in the final minute of the period, capped off with Anderson hitting a buzzer beating three for some momentum going into the final 10 minutes.
The fourth quarter was controlled by Leicester, who made sure they didn’t give their opponents any routes back into the game.
Despite Cheshire trying their best – scoring some excellent buckets such as Amorie Archibald’s coast-to-coast layup while falling over – the home side just could not get close enough to threaten the visitors.
With three minutes left to play, a couple of long-range jumpers by Mackenzie gave the Riders a 14-point lead (83-97), before Love drained a triple a minute later to effectively call game.
With this W the Riders move to a record of 16-6, while the Phoenix drop to 12-14.
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