On The Buzzer: Lions and Eagles close in on Riders

Leicester Riders remain top of the BBL Championship, but only just, after Friday night’s games, with the chasing pack now even larger as four teams hold a 7-2 record with Newcastle Eagles and London Lions picking up home wins.

The other Friday fixture between Worcester Wolves and Surrey United had to be postponed after Surrey United’s team bus was caught up in heavy traffic due to a delay as a result of a motorway accident earlier in the day.

Sharks @ Lions

Vince Macaulay’s London Lions, by his own admission, have only been at full strength for just a fortnight, but their 78-55 win over Sheffield Sharks at the Copper Box Arena has seen them creep up on the blindside at this early stage of the season. The depth of the Lions’ bench was paying off even by half time, as eight players made contributions to their tally sharing the points evenly. Sheffield Sharks’ shooting from the field was remarkably wide of the mark, but from the free throw line, BJ Holmes was able to keep the score board ticking for the visitors. The result sees both sides with 7-2 records, but it remains to be seen, for the Lions, how crucial that overtime loss to Worcester earlier in the campaign will have been.

Giants @ Eagles

Charles Smith’s efforts from beyond the perimeter in the first quarter were the catalyst for a bad night for the Manchester Giants, going down 103-51. A run of 15 points in the following period for Fab Flournoy’s men put them in full control for the rest of the night. The Giants were 17 points down at the half time break and would need another miraculous turnaround as seen last Sunday to pull it back, but with the handling errors on show (25 in total), combined with the lack of shots dropping (even from the charity strip it was a struggle – converting over 5-from-13 compared to Eagles’ 22-from-24); the night belonged to the North East side and kept the pressure on the reigning champions.

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