The new season began in style as the Manchester Giants recorded an 85-84 win over the London Lions on their return to the top flight. Newcastle Eagles and the Leicester Riders were the other victors on the opening night.
In a tense finish it was the home side who managed to get the win despite trailing in the final minute. James Jones led the way with a 29 point haul while fellow new signings, Mo Williams and David Watts added 15 and 13 points respectively.
A strong final quarter display from Duane James helped him to 18 points and 10 boards but the newly named London Lions fell agonisingly short. Orlan Jackman top scored for the visitors with 19 points with Tayo Ogedengbe also adding 18.
Manchester were 81-74 ahead with 1:30 left on the clock before the Lions took the lead on the back of a 10-2 run. But with 22 seconds to go, the Giants were back in the lead for the final time to complete a fairytale comeback after an 11 year absence.
Glasgow Rocks finished strong in their clash with the Newcastle Eagles at Sport Central but were beaten 72-65. Last season’s MVP, Joe Chapman top scored for the home side with 23 points while Gareth Murray had 16 for the Rocks.
Fab Flournoy and Darius Defoe both weighed in with 10 points and 11 rebounds to give the Eagles a winning start in defence of one of four titles.
All three games were delayed and the first to finish was in Sheffield where the Sharks suffered a 55-71 defeat against the Leicester Riders. Former Eagle, Andrew Bridge lined up for Sheffield for the first time in a decade while new point guard, Gage Daye top scored with 15 points.
John Fraley led all scorers with 23 points as the Riders opened up an early lead to take control. However, an 18 point half-time lead was cut to 11 with ten minutes to go as the visitors were restricted to just seven points in the third period. This was as close as the Sharks could get as Leicester picked up a valuable two points on the road.
Newcastle will be the team to beat this season after completing the clean sweep of titles last season with Leicester hoping to go a step further from their efforts in 2011-12. Manchester have been tipped to do well after assembling a squad filled with BBL experience.
The opening weekend action continues with Worcester taking on Durham and Surrey hosting Mersey with both matches tipping off at 7pm.