Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders produced a superb defensive performance to win the BBL Play-off Final 68-57 against Newcastle Eagles, completing a treble after lifting the BBL Cup and BBL Championship trophies earlier in the season.
GB Olympian Drew Sullivan (203-F-80, agency: Interperformances, college: Villanova) was named MVP, adding the award to his Molten BBL Player of the Season award. He ended up with a game-high 24 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. He was supported by Jamell Anderson, who made 86% of his shots on his way to 13 points and 6 rebounds. BBL Cup Final MVP Jay Cousinard finished with 8 points and 7 rebounds, while Zaire Taylor finished with 8 points and 2 steals.
For Eagles, only Darius Defoe and Kareem Maddox made more than half their shots as they finished with 13 and 12 points respectively. Maddox also pulled down a game-high 8 rebounds.
Riders held Eagles to just 57 points - the lowest score ever posted in a BBL Play-off final, breaking the record of 62 points scored by Riders in their loss to the Eagles in last season's final. Eagles made just 35% of their shots against great Riders defence and sank just one of their sixteen 3-point efforts. The Riders' 68 points also broke the record for the fewest points scored by a winner, breaking a record that the Eagles had tied in last season's final with 71 points.
Eagles started the game struggling to score against some stifling Riders defence, with Molten BBL Defensive Team of the Year members Drew Sullivan and Zaire Taylor coming up with some fantastic defensive plays that resulted in steals. It took Eagles close to 3 and a half minutes to score on the Riders defence, through Kareem Maddox, who scored 2 field goals in succession to give Eagles the lead at 7-5, which would prove to be their final lead of the game.
Riders had struggled to that point to score against the Eagles as well, but Rob Paternostro's substitution into the game of Yorick Williams proved to be an inspired decision. The veteran sharpshooter had 5 points and an assist during a 13-0 run that put Riders up by 11 at 18-7 and Riders maintained that lead into the quarter-break, where they led 22-11.
Charles Smith cut that down to single figures for Eagles, scoring the first points of the second quarter, but that proved to be short lived as the Eagles then scored 3 points in the next 5 minutes on some great Riders defence. Riders meanwhile scored 8 points in the spell but made just a single field goal in the period, scored by Drew Sullivan. That spell took the Riders' lead out to 14 points at 30-16.
Kareem Maddox's putback started Eagles on a 6-0 run to pull themselves to back within 8 points, leaving them down 34-26 with 90 seconds left in the first half. They didn't score again, going into the half-time break down 38-26, with those 26 points the fewest ever scored in the first half of a BBL Play-off final.
Eagles came out of half-time fighting, Darius Defoe sinking an alley-up, with Smith assisting at the end of a 7-2 mini-break by Eagles at the start of the third quarter, cutting the Riders' lead down to 40-33.
But Riders hit back, Sullivan showing his class by sinking a 3-point shot then making a massive slam dunk in an 11-2 run that made the Riders' lead 16 points at 53-37.
Jay Cousinard hit a 3-point shot to extend that lead out to 17 points in the final stanza, making it 60-43. But the Eagles struck back, with Joe Chapman finally making a trey for them after 33 minutes of play. That sparked an 8-0 run, nearly halving the Riders' lead to make it 60-51.
The Riders stopped that run after Sullivan again came up with a vital play, making a tough turnaround jump shot to make it 62-51.
That stopped the Eagles' run with 5 minutes to go and the Riders' defence again proved tough - Eagles never reduced the gap to single figures again. The Riders kept the Eagles to just 6 points in the final 5 minutes and while they also only score 6 points, it proved enough to secure them a second BBL Playoffs title.
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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