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Riders rout Giants, Patriots bag derby victory, as Sharks and Eagles secure vital wins at home


BBL Championship

Leicester Riders 86-69 Manchester Giants (23-24, 49-28, 70-48)
(Riders – Nelson-Henry 23, Whelan 17, Loving 14; Giants – Armstrong 15, Whelan 9, Anderson 8)

Newcastle Eagles 114-72 Surrey Scorchers (27-15, 55-36, 89-56)
(Eagles – Person Jr 23, Peel 18, Fletcher 17; Scorchers – Hamrick 19, Thomas 19, Wanliss 16)

B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 90-77 Glen Luss Glasgow Rocks (22-25, 42-39, 66-60)
(Sharks – Glasgow Jr. 21, Johnson 20, Wallace 14; Rocks – Jacdonmi 21, Hillsman 13, Harris 13)

Bristol Flyers 73-77 Plymouth City Patriots (19-21, 39-39, 59-62)
(Flyers – Evans 22, Jacob 20, Thomas-Edwards 12; Patriots – Hart 20, Williams 15, Josephs 12)

In a repeat of the BBL Cup Final, the Manchester Giants
started very strongly against the all-conquering Leicester Riders and led at
the Morningside Arena at the end of the first quarter, with six different
scorers getting on the board for Lloyd Gardner’s side.

Only trailing by one going into the second quarter, the
Riders made perfectly clear their intentions to go into the halftime interval
comfortably ahead, as they blitzed the visiting team with a 20-0 run that saw
the Giants go without scoring for over seven minutes in the following quarter.

Manchester would eventually get on the board in the quarter
but as 26-4 loss in that period put Rob Paternostro’s side firmly in control of
the fixture.

Darien Nelson-Henry had a very efficient first half on his
way to a 23-point performance, whereas Geno Crandall had the Sky Sports cameras
on triple-double watch going into the second half, before foul trouble would
waylay the reigning MVP from achieving that milestone.

British basketball talent looked to rally the Giants to a
comeback in the third quarter, as GB Captain Dan Clark scored some clutch
buckets and provided delightful dimes for the likes of Josh Steel, whilst
Jamell Anderson was a force on both ends of the floor, leading to Manchester
cutting down the deficit to 14.

Canadian guard Kimbal Mackenzie laced two big threes for
Leicester to close out the third, however, without reply, killing the game off
going into the fourth quarter where the Riders cantered to victory and
continued their franchise-record start to the season.

The return of Justin Gordon to the BBL had fans’ eyes glued
to Tyneside this evening, as the Newcastle Eagles welcomed Surrey Scorchers to
the Vertu Motors Arena for a crunch fixture, and the home side soared to a
superb start in front of a sell-out crowd.

The man of the moment, Gordon, would finish with 14 points,
eight rebounds and six assists on his second debut – and his first-ever
performance in front of the Eagles faithful after Covid-19 denied the fans the
right to see him in action last year – but he was just one of six Newcastle
players to score in double-figures as Ian Macleod’s side stormed to a 42-point
victory against Surrey.

Rodney Glasgow Jr. was a thorn in the side of the Glen Luss
Glasgow Rocks as the B. Braun Sheffield Sharks secured a victory against Gareth
Murray’s side, spoiling a positive day of news for the Scottish club who had
earlier announced plans to move into their own arena.

Glasgow Jr. started fast, scoring six of his 21 points in
the first quarter, but it wasn’t until the second period that his team found
their stride as the visitors won the opening 10 minutes before the Sharks’
killer instincts took over and they outscored the Rocks in every quarter moving
forward, eventually securing a comfortable win that saw them keep pace with the
top sides in the Championship.

Arguably the biggest result of the night came at the SGS
Arena as the Bristol Flyers and Plymouth City Patriots took part in a gripping
battle that would go down to the wire between Andreas Kapoulas and Paul James’
sides.

Marcus Evans and Joe Hart followed on from their
All-Star-Five nominations this past week with 20-plus-point performances for
their respective sides in this evening’s action, but it was the bench scoring
that made the difference on the night for the Patriots as Coach James could
rely on 25 points from his rotations, compared to just nine for Kapoulas’
substitutes.

Eight points was the most either side would lead by on the
night, and going into the second half the teams were deadlocked at 39 apiece.
Although the winning margin was just four for the Patriots at the end of the
game, the Flyers had led by eight themselves with four minutes to go in the
final period, but a 14-2 run in the final three minutes saw Plymouth head home
with a vital derby win.



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