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Top four all win; Sharks snap losing streak

The top four remain the same as the quartet of Leicester, Newcastle, Surrey and Plymouth all recorded victories at the weekend.

The top four remains the same as the quartet of Leicester, Newcastle, Surrey and Plymouth all recorded victories at the weekend.

The table-topping Riders extended their lead at the top with an impressive 85-73 win at the Emirates Arena to end Glasgow Rocks’ unbeaten run. Anthony Rowe top scored for Leicester with 25 points but Donald Robinson led all scorers with his 26 point haul.

The teams were locked at 26-26 after a high scoring start before the visiting Riders began to move clear. An 8-0 spell helped Leicester lead by eight but Glasgow battled back to narrow the gap to 47-44 at half-time.

When play resumed, Glasgow opened with the first seven points to lead by four but their advantage didn’t last long as Leicester regained control and Jorge Calvo’s late basket gave his side a five point cushion to take into the fourth.

A low scoring finale ensued with the hosts kept off the score-sheet for well over four minutes by which point Leicester built a lead of eleven and the damage had been done. A Robinson dunk ended the drought but Rob Paternostro’s men hit back with a 7-0 response to seal the win and improve to an 12-1 record.

Plymouth responded well from their BBL Cup semi-final disappointment to overcome a slow start to beat Worcester 87-65. Gavin Love’s side stay fourth in the league while Worcester are a place behind with a 7-7 record.

The visiting Wolves made a dominant start with a 12-0 opening in the first five minutes before Liam Potter got the Raiders running. Worcester’s fast start was enough to ensure they led after ten minutes with the score 18-12.

The lead had stretched back up to 11 points but the home side responded well and Michael Ojo’s late triple cut the deficit to just three points at half-time, 36-33. The third quarter was a tight affair with both teams trading the lead throughout the period.

Again, Ojo struck from beyond the arc in the final minute and this time gave Plymouth the lead at 56-55 heading into the final quarter, where they would take complete control. The game was still even with around seven minutes to go with the gap at five points before a 9-2 run helped Plymouth move clear.

The home side finished the game with a 15-3 run to seal the win with Javarris Barnett nailing two free throws to end the game with 24 points. Arturas Masiulis’ 18 points led a Wolves side boosted by the arrival of Sherrad Prezzie-Blue.

Newcastle kept up the pressure on Leicester with a 96-73 win on the road to the Cheshire Phoenix. Kareem Maddox led the way with a double-double of 27 points and 11 rebounds while Chez Marks returned from injury to top score for the ‘Nix’ with 20 points. The defending champions raced into an early lead and did not look back.

Sheffield ended their three match losing streak in the league after an 88-73 success in Durham. Mike Tuck top scored with 27 points with Nick Lewis and latest recruit, BJ Holmes contributing 16 points each.

An impressive start set Sheffield on their way as they opened up a 23-13 advantage after ten minutes. The second quarter was shared in terms of scoring as the visitors maintained their ten point lead, heading into half-time at 44-34 after a late three from Lewis.

The lead continued to rise in the third and late baskets from Zach Gachette and Atiba Lyons ensured Sheffield had a comfortable lead to defend in the fourth at 64-50. Durham reduced their arrears into single figures with three minutes to go but a sharp burst from the Sharks saw the lead peak at 18 points before Mike Baldarelli’s triple ended the game.

The only game on Saturday saw the Surrey Heat defeat Manchester Giants 83-71 in the first ever meeting between the two sides in the BBL. Sam Cricelli and Chavis Holmes both added 19 points for the home side while David Watts top scored with a game high 20 points for the Giants, who fell to a seventh straight defeat.

After another action packed weekend in the BBL, the table now looks like this:

Leicester Riders 12-1 (24pts); Newcastle Eagles 10-1 (20pts); Surrey Heat 9-2 (18pts); Plymouth Raiders 8-3 (16pts); Worcester Wolves 7-7 (14pts); Glasgow Rocks 6-4 (12pts); London Lions 6-7 (12pts); Cheshire Phoenix 5-8 (10pts); Sheffield Sharks 3-8 (6pts); Durham Wildcats 3-9 (6pt); Manchester Giants 3-10 (6pts); Mersey Tigers 0-12 (0pts)

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