The Newcastle Eagles secured qualification to the quarter finals of the BBL Cup Sunday, as B.Braun Sheffield Sharks were knocked out for just the fourth time in the franchise’s history in the group stages, while the Glasgow Rocks inflicted a first loss of the season on the Giants.
Despite their defeat, Manchester Giants finish top of Group 2 on points difference – largely thanks to their blow-out victory over the Rocks during the week, but it was the Scottish side that triumphed this time, beating the Giants 83-73.
Jonny Bunyan’s 20 points and a further 17 from Julius Van Sauers inspired the Rocks to a double-digit margin win, while Lyle Hexom’s 20 points was the highlight performance from the Giants’ perspective, in a game where not a single player managed to put up a double-double.
Meanwhile in Sheffield, the Sharks were frustrated by another dominant performance from two-time MVP Rahmon Fletcher – who based off current form looks like a potential candidate to win the award again.
His 24 point performance, accompanied by double-doubles from Evan Maxwell and Cortez Edwards forced the Sharks to crash out of the tournament – despite impressive performances from the likes of Antwon Lillard and Kipper Nichols.
With only a few games left in the group stages of the BBL Cup, the quarter final draw is beginning to look more clear, as Plymouth Raiders face London Lions and Manchester Giants up against Surrey Scorchers.
One of the remaining qualifying teams from Group 3, Newcastle Eagles or Leicester Riders, will face either the Worcester Wolves or Bristol Flyers, while the other team from Group 3 will face the Glasgow Rocks.
Surrey Scorchers will progress to the BBL Cup quarter-finals in second place from Group 1 after a fourth quarter comeback saw them overcome Worcester Wolves 76-72 on Saturday night.
Scorchers trailed for almost all of the first three quarters and headed into the final ten minutes in a five point hole, as Matthew Bryan-Amaning led the Wolves, finishing with 26 points and 11 rebounds.
But Surrey took the lead immediately in the decisive fourth period after a Martelle McLemore ‘and-one’ play sparked a run of seven unanswered points to make the score 52-50.
Six lead changes ensued in a nervy finish, until there were four minutes left to play when Scorchers hit a 10-0 surge – with captain Tayo Ogedengbe getting seven of his 18 points in that three minute spell – and the game was won.
Connor Cashaw led the Scorchers throughout, matching his captain’s 18 point haul while adding seven rebounds and five assists.
The final team to progress from this group will be decided when Bristol Flyers face the Wolves on Wednesday night.
The Manchester Giants picked up a comfortable victory over the Glasgow Rocks Friday evening, while Plymouth Raiders narrowly edged out Worcester Wolves in a nail-biting affair.
Breaon Brady’s 20 points and 10 rebound double-double helped the Giants to dominate their opposition, while Sam Cassell Jr and Lyle Hexom all managed to get into double-digits for scoring as well.
David Mpondo, Jonny Bunyan and Isa Brandon all managed to get into double digits for scoring for the Rocks, but 3 out of the five starters failed to put up more than four points in a disappointing performance from the Scottish side.
Meanwhile, the Plymouth Raiders grabbed their fifth win of the season, as Chris Porter-Burton and Denzel Ubiaro lead them to a tight two-point margin victory over the Worcester Wolves.
Their combined 30 points put the Group 1 leaders just ahead of the Wolves, who were inspired by Matthew Bryan-Amaning’s 17 point and 11 rebound double-double.
Despite the Wolves best efforts, the final quarter ultimately cost them as the Raiders outscored them by five in the final period – ultimately turning the tie in their favour after trailing for so long.
The Raiders have already qualified for the next round, while the Giants are also on well on their way to a knockout spot.