Saturday night may have seen the celebration of a national icon on our television screens, but two BBL sides will also be going to sleep with a smile on their faces after much needed victories in the BBL Championship.
Raiders @ Wildcats
A well-rounded team effort led Durham Wildcats to a 72-67 victory against the visiting Plymouth University Raiders, with RJ Evans leading the way with 14 points.
It was a relatively close fought contest between the two sides occupying 6th and 7th place in the table, but the hosts finished the first quarter with the upper hand, 22-20. The momentum was to swing ever so slightly in favour of the Raiders though during the following period, as Jay Marriott’s side went into the locker room 40-38 to the good.
The visitors stretched their lead by another two points heading into the final quarter, however Durham pegged them back in the fourth in what was set to be an enthralling finale.
Raiders once more regained the lead at 67-66, but four points by Durham gave their fans something to shout about as the clock ticked down. Plymouth had the chance to tie the game up with 11 seconds remaining, but failed with their attempt to allow Wildcats to rubber stamp a home victory, 72-67.
RJ Evans top scored for Durham with 14 points, close behind was Mike Allison on 13 for the night. Donald Robinson finished up with a game-high of 15 points, although 13 of those came in the first half.
Neither side would have moved positions in the table but the win will have lifted Durham’s spirits after a run of disappointing results, whilst giving them a .500 record predominantly down to their home court performances.
Rocks @ Knights
Glasgow Rocks finally claimed their first win on the road, 88-60, over Birmingham Knights with a game-changing second half performance, after an uncertain first twenty minutes.
There were six lead changes in the first seven minutes, as teams exchanged baskets in the early going. Knights broke the deadlock at 14-14 with a 7-0 run, with the hosts finishing the first quarter strong.
However, the home fans in Birmingham were not allowed to enjoy the lead for long, as Fran Urli capped off an 11-2 stretch with a bucket to give Rocks a 33-30 advantage.
The lead changed hands throughout the first period, but with the scores tied at 14-14, it was to be the Knights who finished up the better with a 7-0 run. However, Fran Uril helped in hauling the Rocks back into the lead where they remained for the rest of the game. Going in to the half time break, Glasgow took with them a lead of four at 40-36.
It was plain sailing for Sterling Davis’ men, who so far this season have struggled to close out games, as they led by double digits going into the final stanza. The added bonus in the fourth was the fact that they held Knights to scoring just eight points as the game drew to a close.
EJ Harrison was the Rocks’ top scorer on 17, whilst off the bench Urli finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds and had five assists to boot.
Despite Brent Benson coming out with a game-high 22 points, this was to be the only real joy for Birmingham as they drop to the bottom of the table with their 0-9 record.
For Glasgow, they now rise to eighth in the Championship with another big test on Sunday away again at fellow early season strugglers, Cheshire Phoenix.