Plymouth joy in OT, Flyers and Riders keep heat at the top and Caledonia maintain top-four hopes
(AOT) Surrey Scorchers 95-101 Plymouth City Patriots (26-18, 48-43, 63-64, 87-87)
(Scorchers: Carey, 33; Wang, 16; Jacdonmi, 13 — Patriots: Gadsden, 32; Dusha, 19; Hassan, 16)
Bristol Flyers 81-75 Newcastle Eagles (17-27, 38-38, 54-57)
(Flyers: Watson-Gayle, 16; King/Olison, 13; Delpeche, 12 –- Eagles: Gordon, 21; Johnson, 19; Hamlet, 15)
Caledonia Gladiators 83-78 Cheshire Phoenix (26-18, 41-39, 60-54)
(Gladiators: Durham, 17; Bailey, 16; Sloan, 13 — Phoenix: Evans, 26; Archibald, 13; Austin, 12)
Leicester Riders 104-84 Manchester Giants (29-13, 54-46, 84-61)
(Riders: Loving, 25; Jackson, 18; Mackenzie, 16 — Giants: Lewis/Fletcher, 16; Green, 15; Williams, 14)
Plymouth City Patriots maintained their playoff aspirations but needed overtime to overcome Surrey Scorchers 105-95 at Surrey Sports Park on Friday night.
With Plymouth leading by three going into the final seconds, Surrey risked it all and went for the tie.
And the gamble paid off, as with 7.1 seconds left, Josh Steel drained a triple with Elvisi Dusha all over him to tie the game and take it to overtime.
However, the Patriots, playing against a vocal sell-out crowd at Surrey Sports Park were able to compose themselves in overtime as a 7-0 run, all scored by Dusha secured the win in a breathtaking encounter.
Ty Gadsden went for 32 points to lead Plymouth, helped by 19 for Dusha, which cancelled out Kyle Carey’s game-high 33 for Surrey.
In a scrappy opening exchange, Surrey broke clear first as back-to-back scores from Carey gave the Scorchers a 15-8 cushion with more than four minutes of the first played.
Plymouth found success scoring inside as Rashad Hassan led the charge in the early going, however Carey was on form in the first ten as he scored 13 of Surrey’s first 21 points, going 5/5 from the field to land them a six-point advantage.
Carey continued his scoring spree going into the second quarter as the Scorchers enjoyed an 11-point cushion at one point, but Plymouth hit back with back-to-back scores from Gadsden.
The Patriots managed to reduce the deficit to as little as four points, but Surrey – thanks to 27 points from Carey – kept their noses in front at the half, leading 48-43.
However, the Patriots found a way to quieten Carey and the sell-out Surrey Sports Park crowd and thanks to that, they found their way back into the game.
Dusha connected on a three to reduce Surrey’s lead to 54-50, as the hosts were guilty of not taking advantage of their offences, like they had done in the first half.
And with two seconds of the third left, Gadsden gave Plymouth a 64-63 lead to go into the final quarter.
The Patriots were able to create some space between them and the Scorchers in the final period thanks to Gadsden, enjoying a four-point lead for stages of the fourth.
Surrey though, desperate to climb up the BBL Championship table were not about to give up the fight and were offered a temporary reprieve.
Unfortunately for the hosts, it ended in heartbreak.
Bristol Flyers stayed in the BBL Championship race with an 81-75 victory over Newcastle Eagles at SGS College Arena.
The Flyers though were made to work hard for this latest win and came from behind against a very determined Newcastle outfit
Jelani Watson-Gayle paced the winners with 16 points on a perfect 5/5 from the field, three of those coming from deep.
From the start though, Newcastle were the aggressors, scoring the majority of their points inside, catching Bristol off guard.
And the visitors were also hot from outside, as back-to-back three-pointers from Kyle Johnson and Javion Hamlet extended the Eagles lead to 20-9 with 4:52 left in the first.
Watson-Gayle almost single-handedly kept the Flyers in the game towards the end of the quarter as he scored five points in the final minute, but his side trailed by double digits after one.
Throughout the season, the Flyers have shown tremendous character and have fought back from deficits no matter what stage of the game and the second quarter was the latest chapter.
Slowly but surely, they chomped away at the Eagles lead and a triple from Mike Miller brought them to 32-28 in the early stages of the second.
The Eagles though were stubborn and managed to maintain a slim lead throughout the second quarter until Leslee Smith knotted the game at 37-37 with less than a minute left.
The Eagles retook the lead briefly only for Watson-Gayle to tie the game again as the half-time buzzer sounded.
Having trailed all game long, Watson-Gayle gave Bristol its first lead of the game with a basket inside to the delight of the sell-out SGS College Arena.
Hamlet restored Eagles’ lead as both teams jostled for position in an exciting back-and-forth throughout the third and with 2:45 left, Hamlet again connected, this time from deep for a 52-49 lead.
Veteran Darius Defoe – a man built for the big BBL stage – showcased his ability to connect on a three-point play to extend Newcastle’s lead but Bristol were able to make it a one possession game going into the final quarter.
And Eagles’ resistance was finally broken with 4:35 remaining as Malcolm Delpeche scored inside to give Bristol a 66-65 lead which they never relinquished.
Flyers’ lead peaked at eight points in that period, securing a vital win to stay in touch with league-leading London Lions.
Justin Gordon led all scorers for the Eagles with 23 points.
Caledonia Gladiators defeated a stubborn Cheshire Phoenix side 83-78 at the Emirates Arena.
Aljami Durham led the hosts with 17 points with Jeremiah Bailey supporting with 16 along with 11 rebounds, off 53% shooting.
Marcus Evans led all scorers in vain with 26 points going 10/18 from the field.
The hosts raced out to an early 11-2 run with five of those coming from David Sloan as Caledonia made five of their first six shots in the early going.
The Phoenix though managed to find their rhythm and responded as Will Neighbour hit five quick fire points to reduce Caledonia’s lead to 13-9, midway through the period.
Caledonia though were efficient from the field, shooting 52% to take a 26-18 cushion going into the second.
Archibald immediately got the visitors off the mark in the second with a running floater, which was answered with a three from local favourite Johnny Bunyan as the Gladiators stopped any positive spell Cheshire were building.
Soon enough, the hosts restored their double-digit lead with Bunyan again scoring, this time inside.
But the Phoenix were determined and their perseverance paid off as a jumper from Evans tied the game at 39-39 with a minute left.
The hosts though got their lead back towards the end of the half, as a score from Patrick Tape made sure his side had the advantage going into the break.
Tahjai Teague tied the game at 41-41 with a score inside off his own rebound only for Sloan to restore Caledonia’s lead with a tough lay-up of his own.
Both teams were trading buckets until a three-point play from Larry Austin gave the visitors the lead and the American maintained the lead until a three from Bailey put the game all square at 50-50 with 4:42 left.
Caledonia were able to get their lead back and led by as many as eight points until a score from Evans put the Phoenix within six points going into the final quarter.
Despite the Phoenix’s best efforts, Caledonia kept ahead throughout the final quarter with a three from Kyle Jimenez with 6:08 left ending a 6-0 Cheshire burst and turning the tide of the game for good.
The win improves Caledonia’s fight for a top-four spot, which they are fighting for alongside the Phoenix.
Leicester Riders kept the pressure on the BBL’s top two with a deserved 104-84 win over Manchester Giants at Morningside Arena on Friday night.
The Riders led from start to finish against the Giants, who enjoyed good spells of play but against a strong Leicester, were always playing catch up.
Marc Loving led Riders with 25 points, supported by 18 from Zach Jackson as they managed to stay pace with the BBL’s leading pack.
Rahmon Fletcher and Nick Lewis both had 16 points to lead the Giants.
Manchester were guilty of missing shots that they would normally make in the first quarter and the Riders made them pay as Kimbal Mackenzie drained a three to give the hosts a 15-6 advantage.
With 1:20 left, the visitors managed to get into double-figures with a pair of foul shots from Dirk Williams but Leicester were in firm control, going into the second, leading 29-13.
Desperate to put the subpar first quarter behind them, the Giants forced a turnover in the opening possession, went down the other end and Lewis drained a three.
The Riders though managed to keep the scoreboard ticking, a dunk from Blake Bowman kept his side’s lead at double-digits with three minutes of the second period played.
The Giants though got the deficit down to as little as seven points thanks to consecutive lay-ups from the veteran Fletcher.
Despite the good spell, Riders were able to maintain their advantage and a three on the half-time buzzer from Loving – who had 21 points at the interval – gave the hosts an eight-point cushion.
Leicester would restore their double-digit lead in the early stages of the third, only for a dunk from Tahj Green to bring it back to single figures again.
Unfortunately for the Giants, they never got closer than eight points as the Riders would go out of sight by going on an 8-0 run highlighted by a three-point play from Zach Jackson.
Taking an 84-61 lead into the final period, Leicester would see the game out in the fourth as their lead peaked at 25 points, keeping the pressure on the top two.
The four-game slate sets the scene for an incredible weekend of BBL action. Follow all the games here on our YouTube channel.