It's been a busy weekend in the NBL with National Cup games making for a packed fixture list across week 12. We recap both competitions below, starting with our game of the week!
Reading helped create a four way tie for 2nd place in the D1M standings following a comprehensive 100-81 win over Worthing Thunder.
Despite playing on the road, Reading took command of the fixture early to score 32 points in the opening quarter. That created a lead that the Rockets would never relinquish, with the advantage hovering around the double digit mark for most of the game.
The Rockets shot 57% from the floor, thanks in part to a 15/20 shooting effort from Nick Richards. The American finished with 32 points to go with nine rebounds and five assists. A.J. Carr and Liam Davis both chipped in 26 points as no other Reading player made it to double digits.
For Worthing, the return of Zaire Taylor and Cameron Hildreth couldn't push the Thunder to success as Taylor and Alex Owumi both finished on 23 points.
Joining Reading and Worthing in the group on 18 points are Thames Valley after they beat Westminster Warriors 115-93. Martelle McLemore was in unstoppable form for the Cavs, scoring 45 points and adding eight rebounds and four assists, helping to push the hosts to a 59-39 half time lead that they'd eventually convert to a win.
Hemel are also in the chasing pack as they pulled off a hard fought 92-88 road win against Leicester. The victory required a period of OT to separate the teams as Mike Williams top scored for the Storm on 23. T.J Henderson's 31 for the Warriors wouldn't be enough, though he was integral in Leicester's bid to comeback from a 68-62 deficit going into the 4th quarter.
Solent maintained their unbeaten record with a routine 113-69 victory over Nottingham Hoods. The visitors never really got going in the contest, losing the opening period 39-16 to trail 63-30 by the half. Travis Charles led the way for the Kestrels, he had a 19 point, 15 rebound double-double.
Liverpool couldn't recreate the form that saw them run Worthing close last weekend as they fell to a heavy 118-57 defeat in Loughborough. The Riders' 39-16 opening frame set the tone for the contest as Jordan Santiago filled the stat sheet to finish with 25 points, seven rebounds, five assists and five steals.
Finally, Derby continued their recent Jekyll and Hyde form to lose 100-82 at home to Bradford. The Trailblazers have now failed to win back to back games since mid-October, hurting their chances of a lofty finish in the D1M standings. David Walsh was the main man for the Dragons, he helped his side score a combined 64 points in the 2nd and 3rd quarter to eventually finish on 23.
Three of this year's National Cup quarter finals took place this weekend, with Myerscough v Westminster getting moved to the New Year.
Reading made it two wins from two on the weekend as they defeated Essex & Herts Leopards 98-82. Nick Richards was once again in hot form, racking up 33 points, seven rebounds, four assists and six steals. A 39-21 3rd quarter doomed the Leopards as Jerelle Okoro and Hafeez Abdul both scored 20 points.
Solent's quest for a completely unbeaten season goes on as they dispatched Hemel 97-87. Playing an OT game in Leicester the previous evening is unlikely to have helped the Storm coming into this one as they also lost Mike Williams to injury during the contest. Travis Charles was once again in dominant form, scoring a game high 28 points to go with nine boards for the Kestrels.
Loughborough ensured they'd have their name in the hat for the semi finals by beating Derby Trailblazers 83-77. In an otherwise even contest, the Riders came up big in the 4th quarter to claim the frame 26-11 and seal a hard fought W.
3:00pm - Leicester Warriors 88-92 Hemel Storm
3:00pm - Loughborough Riders 118-57 Liverpool - LIVE STATS
6:00pm - Thames Valley Cavaliers 114-93 Westminster Warriors - LIVE STATS
6:00pm - Team Solent Kestrels 113-69 Nottingham Hoods - LIVE STATS
7:15pm - Derby Trailblazers 82-100 Bradford Dragons
7:30pm - Worthing Thunder 81-100 Reading Rockets - LIVE STATS
Week 13 represents the final D1M action of 2019 and five games fill the schedule.
In a battle between the 2nd placed sides, Hemel host Reading in what should be a highly enjoyable contest. Another of the 2nd placed sides Thames Valley welcome Solent in another big game as the Kestrels try to keep their unbeaten streak alive.
Elsewhere, Derby play Westminster, Liverpool entertain Nottingham and Essex travel to Leicester.
Main image credit - Shaun Colley