Newcastle Eagles 113-111 Manchester Giants (29-23, 57-50, 81-75, 98-98)
(Eagles – Fletcher 32, Person Jr. 21, Peel 18; Giants – Armstrong 40, Anderson 19, Clark 19)
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 74-75 Bristol Flyers (26-17, 41-37, 55-58)
(Sharks – Ratinho 18, Wallace 17, Nichols 16; Flyers – Delpeche 18, Thomas-Edwards 12, Samuels 10)
Two very tight games on Friday night were settled by a total of just three points and have seen significant movement in the top five of the BBL Championship table, with Bristol Flyers and Newcastle Eagles climbing following nail-biting wins.
Live on Sky Sports, Flyers overcame injury trouble to beat B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 75-74 as captain Josh Rogers made a huge late play to see them leapfrog their hosts up to third in the table, condemning Sharks to a fourth straight home defeat.
Flyers were in a 13-point hole in the first half after some fantastic early three-point shooting from Sheffield, Devante Wallace hitting four treys in the first quarter alone; and they didn’t take their first lead until Malcolm Delpeche scored consecutively to make it 56-54 late in the third quarter.
There were then eight lead changes early in the fourth as the teams traded blows and, fittingly, headed into the final two minutes tied at 70 when Bristol Head Coach Andreas Kapoulas called a timeout.
Out of that, Delpeche scored again before captain Josh Rogers knocked down a deep three-pointer to put Flyers up by two shots. They needed that cushion, as late drama ensued and Rodney Glasgow Jr. got Sharks back to within one, but they couldn’t steal the win despite three bites at a shot as the buzzer expired.
Delpeche led the scoring with 18 points and eight rebounds, playing against his twin brother for the first time in their careers.
It was even closer elsewhere, as Newcastle Eagles prevailed through overtime to beat Manchester Giants 113-111 in a high-scoring affair in which the opposing point guards battled it out to share 72 points.
Again, Eagles had led by as many as 15 points in the first half after a 12-3 push in the second stanza in which Kyle Williams scored five and Duke Shelton four to make the score 43-28.
And they were still up nine in the fourth quarter until Tyrik Armstrong scored five of his 40 points in a 9-3 burst and then tied the game with 23 seconds to play to force the extra period.
Overtime was a war of attrition, as Eagles won it by finishing the last three minutes 11-8 with all 11 points coming from the free-throw line. Giants were within one point with 18 seconds to play, until an unsportsmanlike foul on Jack Hudson was followed by a technical foul on Dan Clark, from which Rahmon Fletcher scored two key free-throws.
Fletcher led the Eagles, finishing with another double-double of 32 points and 12 assists, in a win that snapped a five-game losing streak and saw them jump up to fifth in the table.