The Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders - BBL regular season champions - are through to the BBL Championship Playoff semi-finals after overcoming the London Lions 73-61 on Saturday night, beating them 143-129 on aggregate over two legs.
A dominant final fifteen minutes saw the Riders through in what was otherwise a tight encounter throughout. Anthony Rowe led their scoring with 24 points and 9 rebounds, and over the two legs he scored 40 points and snatched 17 boards. Drew Sullivan was his main support in the second leg, adding 23 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists in a fiery second leg performance; the pair combined for two thirds of Leicester's points on the night.
The Lions, trailing 70-68 from the first leg, actually took an aggregate lead in the first half as they kept the Riders to just one basket in a six minute spell and led 22-27 after 8 straight points, including 4 for Mike Martin and another Lawson triple, to lead 22-27 and take the lead on aggregate. Rowe, with an 'and-one' play, broke the Riders' bad spell in style and when Sullivan matched that feat soon afterwards they tied the game at 29. And that proved the spark for the hosts as they scored 6 of the last 7 points in the first half, another 4 for Sullivan, to lead 35-31 at the break.
The Lions had the lead again on the night in the third quarter, but would never lead again on aggregate. From 39-40, Rowe was there to immediately put the hosts back in the ascendancy, and Sullivan added a triple to re-establish a 44-40 lead. The Lions came back to tie once more, but a buzzer-beating three-pointer from Zaire Taylor sent the Riders into the fourth defending a 50-45 advantage. Crucially, the Riders showed their Championship calibre as they scored the opening 6 points of the fourth quarter, 5 for Rowe, to make the lead double-digits on the night at 56-45. More importantly, the Lions were not allowed to score for the first five minutes of the fourth, a total of six and a half minutes including the closing stages of the third, as the lead reached 58-45 on Sullivan's basket, from where the Lions could find no way back.
Elsewhere, the Worcester Wolves take a one possession advantage into the second leg of their BBL Championship Playoff quarter-final after beating the Surrey Heat 81-78 in the Midlands, after a fourth quarter fightback. The teams were barely separated in fourth and fifth in the BBL Championship table, and had previously been involved in two close games this season. The Heat host the second leg on Sunday, having beaten the Wolves by two in the South East earlier in the season - a result they will need to better. Alex Owumi (196-G-84, college: Alcorn St.) led the Wolves with 22 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists, supported by 16 points from Arturas Masiulis. Travis Holmes led the Heat with 22 points and 7 steals.
The visiting Heat had much the better of the first half, as they rattled off an 11-0 burst including a Travis Holmes triple and 5 points from Chavis Holmes in a minute, to lead 5-13. The Heat started the second quarter in a similar fashion, quickly sending their lead into double-digits as they scored the first 7 points of the period, five more for Travis Holmes and two more for Chavis Holmes as they equally shared 16 of the Heat's first 21 points. The first half lead reached its peak midway through the second as Albert Margai hit a three-pointer for 20-34 with 3.40 to play in the half, but it was trimmed to 33-37 after 8 points from Alex Owumi kept the Wolves in touch.
The Wolves had much the better start to the third quarter to provide a hint as to what would come: an early 10-2 run saw back-to-back three-pointers from Stan Ocitti to give them their first lead since the opening minutes of the game at 47-46. But it didn't last as the Heat responded with the next 9, including 5 for Travis Holmes whose triple capped the run at 47-55. Sherrad Prezzie-Blue (180-PG-86, agency: Pro Partner Sports Management, college: Wentworth) ended the third with a three-pointer and that helped to swing the momentum in the crucial last ten minutes. Stan Ocitti's triple got it to within one possession at 64-67 and the game's deciding spell came when Owumi added a three-pointer with 5.51 to play, followed by a pair of Prezzie-Blue free-throws to put the Wolves back in the ascendancy at 71-70. Five lead changes ensued over a nervous three minute spell, and the teams were tied at 75 heading into the final three minutes. Masiulis put the Wolves in front, for good, and Prezzie-Blue made it 79-75. Two free-throws from Chavis Holmes got it back to 79-78, but Masiulis scored the last basket of the first leg with 43 seconds remaining to leave it teetering at 81-78.
Townsville Heat adds Anderson to their roster, ex Cheshire P. - 1 day ago
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Townsville Heat (QBL) added to their roster 27-year old British forward Jamell Anderson (200-90). He just played at Cheshire Phoenix in British BBL league. In 33 games he recorded 10.7ppg, 5.0rpg, 2.5apg and 1.9spg this season. The last season Anderson played at Leicester Riders (also in BBL) where in 34 games he averaged 6.6ppg, 3.2rpg and 1.5apg. He helped them to win the regular season and make it to the final. They also played in the Cup final. A very spectacular season in his career... [read more]
Townsville Heat (QBL) added to their roster 27-year old British forward Jamell Anderson (200-90). He just played at Cheshire Phoenix in British BBL league. In 33 games he recorded 10.7ppg, 5.0rpg, 2.5apg and 1.9spg this season. The last season Anderson played at Leicester Riders (also in BBL) where in 34 games he averaged 6.6ppg, 3.2rpg and 1.5apg. He helped them to win the regular season and make it to the final. They also played in the Cup final. A very spectacular season in his career as he was voted to Eurobasket.com British BBL All-Defensive Team. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others Anderson's team won British BBL Cup for two years in a row (2013 and 2014). He represented United Kingdom at the 3x3 World Championships in Greece five years ago. Anderson has played also professionally for other British teams like Nottingham Tribe and Essex Pirates.
It's our penultimate line-up of 2016-17 and while a trio took their last opportunity to shine as their respective seasons came to an end, two of our starters will be hoping to re-appear as they head into the Play-Offs! Mike DiNunno (Cheshire Phoenix) As the curtain fell on an eventful season at Phoenix, the playmaker signed off his participation in spectacular style with a typically influential contribution. Di Nunno lit it up at Cheshire Oaks Arena against Leeds Force by harvesting a ma... [read more]
It's our penultimate line-up of 2016-17 and while a trio took their last opportunity to shine as their respective seasons came to an end, two of our starters will be hoping to re-appear as they head into the Play-Offs!
Mike DiNunno (Cheshire Phoenix) As the curtain fell on an eventful season at Phoenix, the playmaker signed off his participation in spectacular style with a typically influential contribution. Di Nunno lit it up at Cheshire Oaks Arena against Leeds Force by harvesting a massive 36 points in just 22 minutes, after sinking a sizzling eight scores from beyond the three-point line. He also had three rebounds, three assists and not a single turnover during his time on court.
Callum Jones (193-G-85, college: Pace) (Manchester Giants) They may have finished propping up the table, but there was at least a smile of sorts heading into the summer for Giants as they ended their participation with an exciting home win against Plymouth Raiders. That was largely down to a magnificent effort from Jones, as he led his team to victory with a quite brilliant line. The guard finished with a majestic double-double of 26 points and 16 rebounds, while adding seven assists for good measure.
Earl Brown (Cheshire Phoenix) Finishing the season with a flourish and arguably the most consistent performer throughout a campaign of changes for Phoenix, Brown was in scintillating form against Leeds. While his team-mate DiNunno excelled in the backcourt, the forward scythed down Force by registering a huge double-double. He did the business in the paint with an astonishing 84% from the field for 28 points and also added 14 boards and five steals.
Leslee Smith (Bristol Flyers) Despite their worrying start to the season, Flyers find themselves in the Play-Offs after a weekend win double which catapulted them into seventh place. It was imperative Flyers got off to a positive start in their double-header and Smith brought the noise in a big way against Manchester. He was sensational and very much the difference-maker in a hard-fought victory against Giants with a monumental 19-point and 21-rebound double-double to delight the locals.
Tony Wroblicky (DBL Sharks Sheffield) The Sharks are now looking to defend the BBL Play-Off title they famously won at The 02 in London last May and if they manage to do it, you can expect Wroblicky to have a big hand in it. He was on fire for Sharks as they ended Worcester's record winning streak by beating them on the road and in front of the BBC Sport cameras. He weighed in with an outstanding double-double of 25 points and 13 rebounds, also not spilling the ball once in 30 minutes on the hardwood.
Off the Bench - Rashad Hassan (London Lions), Kieron Achara (Glasgow Rocks), Jermaine Sanders (Leeds Force), Rahmon Fletcher (Esh Group Eagles Newcastle), Hameed Ali (Bristol Flyers), Chaz Rollins (Surrey Scorchers), Rob Marsden (Leeds Force).
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