Glasgow Rocks put their pre-Christmas horror show behind them to edge out the Sheffield Sharks in a scrappy game in Glasgow.
Both teams were missing key players – the Rocks were without the injured Sterling Davis and EJ Harrison and the Sharks without Jimmy Langhurst due to work visa issues and had Justin Dobbins starting from the bench due to flu – and both teams struggled early on to shake off the rust from their Christmas breaks.
The Rocks ran out to an early lead in the first quarter thanks to some forced turnovers and quick fast-break points, before the Sharks got on the pace to tie the game up near the end of the period, and briefly took the lead via a spectacular Justin Dobbins put back dunk. However, five straight points from Gareth Murray gave the hosts a 19-16 advantage to end the quarter.
Five points from Danny Huffor saw the Rocks extend their lead to 8 before the Sharks embarked on a 12-0 run that left the Rocks scoreless for almost six minutes before a strong finish and late three from Mychal Green put the Rocks ahead 34-32 at half-time thanks to 15 points from Danny Huffor.
The third period was another evenly matched and scrappy affair, with both teams continuing to shoot the ball poorly and the Rocks managed to hold on to a four point advantage heading into the final period.
It was at the start of the fourth when the Rocks made their breakthrough thanks to an inspired passage of play from rookie Jonny Bunyan, who’s tenacious defence caused turnovers and clutch offence saw him score the Rocks’ first 9 points of the period to stretch the lead to 6 just as it looked like the Sharks were getting back into it.
An Andy Wedemire three increased the lead to 9 points with just over five minutes to play, before two Mychal Green threes as part of a 7-0 run effectively sealed the game for the hosts.
Some strong inside play from Mike Tuck and a late Babalola three made the score line more respectable, but in truth the Sharks were well off the pace the whole game as their 30% FG% and 5/35 from 3PT numbers suggest.
Rocks player/coach Sterling Davis – looking very dapper in a suit on the sidelines – was pleased with the team’s ability to bounce back from their disappointing weekend before Christmas. “We’re trying to put that last weekend behind us and we had a real focus on that this week. We just wanted to regroup. I really pushed the guys this week in practice and they responded well,” he said.
He also cited the Rocks intense defence and Sharks off-shooting night as the keys to victory, adding, “I think the zone was really working well this game and I thought they didn’t shoot the ball well tonight as a team.”