BBL Trophy, Quarter-Final
Plymouth City Patriots 77-88 Cheshire Phoenix (15-22, 32-52, 51-71)
(Patriots – Hassan 22, Williams 21, Ubiaro 17; Phoenix – Mockford 17, Austin 16, Bradley 14)
FIBA Europe Cup, Second Round, Group L
London Lions 61-76 Bahcesehir College (13-24, 24-38, 45-55)
(Lions – Reese 19, Teague 17, Majauskas 8; Bahcesehir – Hall 16, Solomon 10, Smith 10)
Cheshire Phoenix are through to the BBL Trophy semi-finals after a big 88-77 midweek road win at Plymouth City Patriots, a fourth victory in five games for Ben Thomas’s team and snapping Plymouth’s three-game win streak to start 2022.
After trailing initially, a couple of early substitutions made the difference for Cheshire as Larry Austin Jr. came from the bench to score six points in a quick 8-0 burst that gave them their first lead, and one they would hold, at 19-13 late in the first quarter.
That was followed by an 11-0 surge early in the second stanza as Great Britain international Ben Mockford hit a pair of three-pointers, with the latter making it 40-21 as the hosts went scoreless for three minutes. Phoenix shot 66% from the floor in the first half, with Mockford a perfect 5-5 for 14 points and Levi Bradley 4-4 for 11.
Patriots had a go soon after the break, an emphatic dunk from Antonio Williams sparking an 8-8 tear, capped by another dunk from Denzel Ubiaro for 56-42.
But that was as good as it would get as Thomas called for time and his team responded immediately, scoring the next six to put the lead back out to 62-42 on a Teddy Okereafor triple.
Mockford led Cheshire’s scoring with 17 points on 5-8 (62%) long range shooting as the team went 13-25 (52%) from beyond the arc, while Austin Jr. had 16 points, seven rebounds and six steals off the bench.
Meanwhile, in FIBA Europe Cup action, a big crowd at the Copper Box Arena saw London Lions slip to 0-4 in Round Two, Group L, as they fell 76-61 to Bahcesehir College, a Turkish opponent that was 6-0 in the first round group stage, and is now 3-1 in this phase.
Lions had lost to this opponent by 25 points in Istanbul in December, but kept this game much closer throughout with a valiant performance in front of a raucous home crowd, Isaiah Reese finishing with 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
Lions trailed for all but the opening exchanges after the visitors hit a 19-6 run midway through the first when Richard Solomon finished three dunks and Berkay Candan nailed a three-pointer to make the score 24-11.
Lions had their best spell of the game when they responded 9-2 over the first quarter break to get back to within two shots as Aurimas Majauskjas hit a triple and an emphatic Dirk Williams dunk cut the gap to 26-20. But it wouldn’t last, as Bahcesehir scored the next six points, a Solomon three-pointer making it 38-24 at the halfway point as the Lions couldn’t score in the final three minutes.
London remained within striking distance in the second half, and had one more go in the fourth quarter in getting as close as 63-55 with four minutes to play on an Isaiah Reese three-pointer. But it was a strong finish from the visitors as Langston Hall made a pair of threes himself to settle the tie.