Manchester Giants 104-80 Cheshire Phoenix (29-21, 50-38, 74-56)
(Giants: Green, 31; Lee, 19; Roberson, 17 – Phoenix: Austin, 27; Anderson, 15; Ochereobia, 10)
Newcastle Eagles 72-85 London Lions (21-22, 40-41, 53-66)
(Eagles: Hamlet, 29; Kennedy, 9; Cohn/Varner, 8 – Lions: Dekker, 15; Soko/Hruban, 12; Zubcic, 11)
Bristol Flyers 87-77 Plymouth City Patriots (22-23, 53-45, 64-67)
(Flyers: Olison, 18; King/Watson-Gayle, 13; Bell, 12 – Patriots: Dusha, 21; Simons, 14; Hassan, 11)
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 70-74 Caledonia Gladiators (21-20, 37-41, 54-58)
(Sharks: Nichols, 21; Ratinho, 14; Delpeche, 11 – Gladiators: Bailey, 15; Sloan, 14; Fraser, 13)
In a hotly anticipated north-west derby, Giants’ firepower from three-point land proved too much for Cheshire to handle in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
Manchester shot 61% from the field, drilling 14 three-pointers in the process, with Tajh Green going 6/6 from distance for his 31-point, 10-rebound double-double, which also included a highlight reel slam, where he threw it off the backboard to himself.
“It was a rivalry game, so we had to attack them,” Green said. “We got to bring that same energy from last game, and we have to bring it every game.”
William Lee also managed to snag a few highlight plays, adding 19 points, seven rebounds, three steals and three blocks.
Rahmon Fletcher buried the first of the 14 triples for the Giants to give them an early 5-0 lead, quickly answered by a mid-range jumper from Jamell Anderson, playing against his former club.
Green hit the first of his six triples to give the hosts a 10-6 lead with three minutes of the first played, and the Giants maintained their advantage in a high-scoring opening period.
Manchester kept their momentum going in the second; a one-handed slam by Lee gave the hosts a 34-24 lead with 7:49 of the quarter left.
But led by the aggressive Larry Austin and the accuracy of Anderson, Phoenix attempted to stay in touch. Still, Manchester’s shooting was impeccable in the second as they took a 50-38 cushion to the locker rooms.
From there, Manchester’s three-point marksmanship went up a level. Within the first 12 seconds of the third beginning, Green stringed one from the top, which led to Giants going 6/11 from distance to extend their lead to 22 after three.
From there, Manchester put on a show in the fourth, highlighted by Green’s early candidate for dunk of the season.
In defeat, Austin led all scorers with 27 for the Phoenix.
After being held at bay in the first half, London began to flex their muscles in the third quarter as a 17-3 run gave them a double-digit lead that they never relinquished.
Sam Dekker once again took the plaudits as he led the winners with 15 points off 7/9 shooting, cancelling out Javion Hamlet’s 27-point effort for the Eagles.
Following back-to-back scores from London to begin the first, Newcastle responded with a 6-0 run, inspired by David Cohn at the defensive end and Lesley Varner finishing on the offensive side.
At the other end, London, using their height advantage to gain early offensive rebounds, were not converting them into second-chance points, preventing them from taking control in the early going.
However, the Lions were finding joy in solid mid-range shooting from Czech Republic international Vojtech Hruban, who scored six points to give them a narrow 22-21 lead heading into the second.
True to coach Schmidt’s word that teams would be bringing their best when they play London, that is what the Eagles did in the second, taking the game to the EuroCup debutants.
And a trademark jumper from veteran Darius Defoe with 3:38 of the half remaining gave the hosts a 37-32 lead, as London missed shots they would typically make, and as a result, Eagles were dictating the pace.
Through Dekker, though, Lions recovered and held on to have their noses in front at the half.
The Lions finally found their higher gear straight out of the third quarter and left Newcastle stuck in neutral.
A devastating 17-3 run, which showcased beautiful offence alongside suffocating defence, gave London a 66-53 lead after three.
From there, the Eagles never got closer than 13 points to the Lions as the pride of Tyneside await their first win of the Marc Steutel era.
On a momentous week for all Flyers fans with their brand new arena being given the green light, Bristol kept the positive vibes going with Tevin Olison pacing the Flyers with 18 points in the win.
“This was my breakout game, and it was a great win for the team,” Olison commented.
“My team-mates did a great job of finding me when I was open, and I was in rhythm, which I loved.”
Elvisi Dusha led all scorers for the Patriots with 21 points, along with eight assists.
To start, though, both teams were finding their range as the sell-out crowd at the SGS Wise Arena were treated early on to sharp shooting and fast-paced action where if you blinked, you would miss it.
Bristol, looking to score their points on the break, jumped out to a 7-0 burst following Rashad Hassan’s short hook score for the Patriots, with a lay-up in transition by VJ King the highlight.
Spurred on by a raucous away following, the Patriots went on a run of their own with a triple from Troy Simons giving Plymouth a 9-7 lead.
It was an offensive-minded first ten minutes, with both sides not afraid to shoot or fearlessly drive to the hoop.
However, neither side could break clear. A score and a split trip to the line from Leslee Smith gave the Flyers a 16-13 lead but was quickly matched by a triple from Isa Brandon.
Eventually, Brandon again scored inside with less than 13 seconds left in the first to give Plymouth a slender 23-22 lead.
The electric pace seemed to continue in the second with a burning question of how long this would last and who would crack first.
The answer was Plymouth, as a three from King followed by a score inside from Thomas Bell gave the hosts a 46-38 lead en route to a 53-45 cushion at the half.
Plymouth, however, fought back in the third, and a hook from Hassan, followed by a triple by Dusha, restored the away side’s lead at 59-55 half-way through.
Olison would not let Plymouth’s momentum improve, as he scored five unanswered points to switch the lead back to Bristol.
The Patriots regrouped again, and a jumper from Dusha ensured that the visitors would hold the lead going into the fourth.
A three from Brandon Mahan to start the final period tied the game at 67-67, and for Plymouth, it also signalled the end as the hosts used that triple to begin a 9-0 run that the Patriots could not come back from.
After a narrow loss to London 48 hours earlier, the Gladiators got off the mark at the expense of the Sharks, who are still awaiting their first win after four games.
Jeremiah Bailey led the Scots with 15 points, shooting 58% from the field, with David Sloan continuing his fine start to the season with 14.
Kipper Nichols led the Sharks with 21 points.
And it was Nichols who scored the Sharks’ first six points of the game, which led to both teams trading scores for significant periods of a cagey first period.
A dunk from Nichols, followed by a triple by Jordan Ratinho, gave the hosts a seven-point lead mid-way through the first. But Gladiators, led by Sloan, kept up with the Sharks.
A jumper from Bennett Koch looked to give Sheffield a decent cushion with 29 seconds left in the first, but the buzzer neared; Fraser Malcolm drilled a three off the feed by Kyle Jimenez to bring them within a point after one.
But like the first quarter, both teams traded buckets in the second, with Sheffield managing to stay ahead until six unanswered points from Princeton Onwas gave the visitors the lead heading into the third.
With the game’s biggest lead at seven points, it was always going to come down to the wire, but a dagger lay-up by Sloan landed the Gladiators a 71-70 lead with 1:16 remaining, and from there, the visitors iced the game from the foul line.
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