Newcastle Eagles players Joe Chapman (193-G-84, agency: I.D.S. Law, college: Marquette) and Darius Defoe are both looking forward to the challenge of lifting the BBL Championship play-off crown as they prepare to face Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders in Sunday's showpiece game at Wembley Arena.
"It's always a challenge to get to a final, and it's always exciting to play in one" said Chapman (pictured). "It's a great experience to play in front of a big crowd as it gives you a sense of encouragement.
"You always want to have the chance to be the last team standing. If we could win it, it would justify our season. We've been to one final, but the injury problems really hurt us in the regular season in the Trophy. We're all healthy at the right time and we want to finish with a win."
Chapman knows that his team face a tough test against a Riders' team who have beaten them four times this season:
"We have to match their energy, but it's the first time we're playing them at full strength since the Cup final. It'll be a real battle as they're well coached and have some really good players. It's up to us to match their intensity.
"They are one of those teams that have a lot of key guys, they have a European-style team with five or six guys can who can hurt you. It's hard to focus on one player, as they all do a great job."
The 2012 Molten Player of the Year was cagey about who he would be guarding in front of a capacity crowd at Wembley on Sunday: "My role has changed this season, and with the injuries we've had I've ended up guarding a lot of forwards. So it's just a matter of who Fab [Flournoy] puts me on."
Chapman did concede that American shooting guard Jay Couisnard has been a thorn in the Eagles' side this season: "He's played really well in four meetings, he'll have a lot of confidence having been their X-factor against us. We have to match that if we're going to win the game."
Eagles' big man Darius Defoe is also excited about Sunday's game: "Getting to another final after all our injury problems this year is great, and we'll be trying to finish the season with a win.
"We need to play hard against the Riders, stick to our game and not worry about them."
Defoe admits that it's tough to face former Eagle, and this year's Molten BBL Most Valuable Player, Drew Sullivan: "It's hard to play against him, he know our plays so it's difficult, and he's had a really good year."
The BBL Play-Offs got underway in dramatic fashion on Friday night including a rare draw. Surrey Scorchers earned a 73-73 draw with Leicester Riders as Gabe McCray connected with a three at the buzzer to leave the tie evenly poised. Meanwhile, Esh Group Eagles Newcastle defeated Bristol Flyers 94-97 away from home as Hameed Ali netted 30 points to lead a Flyers comeback from 33 points down. London Lions beat Glasgow Rocks 91-70 after overturning a half-time deficit, while Worcester Wol... [read more]
The BBL Play-Offs got underway in dramatic fashion on Friday night including a rare draw.
Surrey Scorchers earned a 73-73 draw with Leicester Riders as Gabe McCray connected with a three at the buzzer to leave the tie evenly poised.
Meanwhile, Esh Group Eagles Newcastle defeated Bristol Flyers 94-97 away from home as Hameed Ali netted 30 points to lead a Flyers comeback from 33 points down.
London Lions beat Glasgow Rocks 91-70 after overturning a half-time deficit, while Worcester Wolves edged past DBL Sharks Sheffield 71-73 on the road with 25 points from Danny Huffor.
Worcester Wolves will take a slender advantage back home after recording a 71-73 victory on the road at DBL Sharks Sheffield.
The Sharks battled back from 17 points down to tie the game in the final minute, but a pair of free throws from Danny Huffor proved the difference.
Huffor ended up with a game-high 25 points in the win with Trevor Setty the only other player in double figures for the Wolves with 15 points.
An 8-2 close gave the Wolves an eight-point lead after 10 minutes and they pushed further clear in the second to open up a 14-point advantage at half-time.
Sheffield began to eat away at the deficit in the third with a 21-15 quarter and tied the game at 61 on a three from Rashawn Rembert.
The game would be level again at 71 with 90 seconds remaining before Huffor sealed the win for the visitors to take a two-point lead back to the University of Worcester Arena.
Rembert had a team-high 20 points for the Sharks with Mike Tuck adding 15 points in the defeat.
BBL Play-Offs, Quarter-Finals, First Leg Surrey Scorchers 73 (12,32,52) (Ogedengbe 22, Taylor 11, McCray 10) Leicester Riders 73 (13,31,50) (Clark 21, King 13, Hampton 12)
Gabe McCray's heroics at the buzzer salvaged a 73-73 draw for Surrey Scorchers to take into the second leg against Leicester Riders.
The hosts had led 59-52 in the fourth before the league champions rallied and looked set to come away with the win, only for McCray to strike late.
Tayo Ogedengbe top scored with a game-high 22 points for the eighth seeds with Quincy Taylor adding 11 points and six assists.
As for the Riders, Brandon Clark had 21 points with Taylor King handing out five assists to go with his 13 points.
A low-scoring opening period saw the Riders edge ahead by a single point before Surrey hit back to take a one-point lead of their own into the half.
The lead doubled following another competitive period before a 7-0 run put the Scorchers in control, but the Riders responded with an 11-2 run to set up an exciting finish.
Clark split a pair of free throws to give Leicester a 70-73 advantage in the final seconds before McCray got his off-balance three to fall at the buzzer with the tie evenly poised heading into Sunday's second leg.
BBL Play-Offs, Quarter-Finals, First Leg Bristol Flyers 94 (9,35,53) (Ali 30, Boggs 22, Streete 15) Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 97 (30,53,77) (Fletcher 31, Jackman 23, Defoe 14)
Bristol Flyers kept their hopes of advancing alive after rallying from a 33-point deficit before losing the first leg 94-97 at home to Esh Group Eagles Newcastle.
The visitors looked in complete control with a dominant 18-51 advantage, but the Flyers came storming back in the second half to close to within three for the second leg.
Rahmon Fletcher netted a game-high 31 points in the win for the Eagles with Orlan Jackman adding a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds.
The second seeds wasted little time in asserting their authority and led by 21 after the opening period. Newcastle continued to push on and two triples from Joe Hart in a 12-0 run made it a 33-point game.
Bristol responded with a 10-0 run and cut the gap at the half, but another strong quarter from the visitors in the third re-established a 24-point lead ahead of the final period.
The Eagles led 76-93 inside the last four minutes, only for the hosts to produce a stunning 18-4 close with Hameed Ali finishing with a 30-point haul as the Flyers now have higher hopes going into Sunday's reverse.
BBL Play-Offs, Quarter-Finals, First Leg London Lions 91 (28,44,68) (K Williams 27, Niktash 19, Taylor 16) Glasgow Rocks 70 (12,45,60) (Lescault 27, Achara 11, Watson 10)
London Lions have the upper-hand going into Sunday's second leg after beating Glasgow Rocks 91-70 at the Copper Box Arena.
The Lions squandered a 20-point lead in a final day defeat to Glasgow last week, but will have a 21-point advantage upon their return to the Emirates Arena.
Kai Williams poured in 27 points with seven triples, while the four other starters all recorded double figures with Navid Niktash adding 19 points and nine boards.
The hosts raced into an 11-2 lead which quickly became 24-5 in the opening seven minutes. The lead was at 19 again at 31-12 early in the second, but the Rocks battled back and a 15-2 run tied the game with Hayden Lescault firing in consecutive triples.
Lescault had 18 points, six rebounds and three assists as the Rocks moved into a half-time lead. London restored control in the third to lead by eight and a 15-1 run pushed the lead beyond 20 points.
The Rocks were led by Lescault's 27 points and will be needing a big performance in the second leg on home court.
Hameed Ali (188-G-93, college: Texas A&M-CC)
Townsville Heat adds Anderson to their roster, ex Cheshire P. - 2 days 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.
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