Manchester Giants ended their seven game losing streak with a close fought win against Durham while there were also home victories for London Lions and Sheffield Sharks.
Jeff Jones’ Manchester side oveturned a 15 point second quarter deficit and managed to keep the Wildcats from scoring in the final 2:43 as David Aliu’s three point play put the Giants ahead for the final team to seal a much needed victory.
The home side had the early advantage before Durham took control with a 13-2 burst which helped them take a 22-15 first quarter lead. Keith Page and Brad Guinane opened the second with scores from beyond the arc to spark an 8-0 run to take the lead out to 30-15.
Manchester battled back with a 15-4 run to trail by four points with David Watts netting two triples during the spell. Mike Baldarelli responded with a three of his own but Devan Bailey’s late two meant Durham led 43-38 at half-time.
The Giants came out strong in the second half and a dominant 16-2 run helped them reverse the seven point deficit to take the lead. Page and Guinane again combined from long range but when Aliu struck from three point distance, he pushed his side’s lead into double figures.
Durham pulled it back before Callum Jones finished the quarter with a three point play to give Manchester a commanding 70-59 advantage heading into the fourth period.
A Stefan Gill basket increased the lead before the Wildcats launched a strong comeback. Page started the revival with a three before Guinane followed suit with a trio of triples and Durham were soon trailing by just a point.
The visitors took the lead with Guinane’s basket capping a vital 20-4 spell to put Durham ahead at 79-76 with less than three minutes remaining. However, Manchester stepped up their defence and prevented their opponents from scoring for the rest of the game and moved ahead with 1:52 remaining and a stalemate ensued to give the home side a Giant win.
Bailey led the hosts with 20 points while Watts and Aliu contributed 16 points each as Guinane had a game high 22 points for Durham on 6/10 shooting from 3-point range.
Plymouth fell to a fourth defeat of the season which could prove costly for their title ambitions as the London Lions moved level with Worcester on a 7-7 mark after their 95-91 success.
Mike Martin top scored for the home side with 26 points with Adrien Sturt and Tayo Ogedengbe both passing 20 points while Michael Ojo led all scorers with a 31 point haul.
The teams played out a high-scoring opening quarter with a late dunk from Ogedengbe giving the Lions the edge at 30-27. Martin’s basket in the second increased the lead to six points but the visiting Raiders ended the half well and four points from Jeremy Bell tied the game at 51.
Plymouth began to take control in third and their lead peaked at eight points with two minutes to go before London hit back with a 10-0 response. The visitors then had the final say with the last seven points to lead 80-75 after three quarters.
The game was evenly poised at 86-86 in the final quarter before Sturt’s basket gave London a lead they would not relinquish. Plymouth battled hard to get back ahead but were kept at bay by Vince Macaulay’s Lions.
In the final game of the evening, Sheffield enjoyed a second consecutive win in the league after a 94-74 home win over the Mersey Tigers. The Sharks were led by 21 points from captain, Mike Tuck with Demitrius Jemison adding a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds.
The visiting Tigers had Martin Calvo as top scorer with 13 points and were left to rue a collective 19 turnovers leading to their 13th straight defeat of the season.
Worcester Wolves have boosted their squad ahead of their home game with Newcastle as Kai Williams joins, having played for Cheshire last season. Leicester host the Sharks in the second leg of the BBL Cup semi-final while on Sunday, Durham host high-flying Surrey and Plymouth entertain Newcastle in the Sky televised game.