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Eagles survive OT test to reach final; Riders open up big lead


Eagles survive OT test to reach final; Riders open up big lead

Newcastle Eagles reached the final of the BBL Cup after defeating Plymouth Raiders 190-181 over two legs.

Newcastle Eagles reached the final of the BBL Cup after defeating Plymouth Raiders 190-181 over two legs.

The second leg was won by the visiting Raiders 91-83 having wiped out the 17 point first leg deficit in regulation time to force an extra period. However, Fab Flournoy’s men recovered and were victorious in the extra period 11-2 to book their place in the final in Birmingham.

Plymouth made a fast start to lead 14-8 before they were pegged level following a 6-2 response from the home side. The Raiders moved ahead once more to lead 24-19 after ten minutes.

Matt Schneck powered his way to a first half double-double; helping Plymouth into a 8-0 start to the second. The visitors closed the overall gap to just three points when they took a 40-26 lead before Joe Chapman netted a triple to make it 40-29 at half-time.

Newcastle began to battle back and briefly reduced their arrears on the night to five points before a three from Colin O’Reilly. Plymouth extended their lead to nine points at the end of the third, 63-54 but still trailed by eight on aggregate.

Gavin Love’s side soon restored their double digit advantage and Javarris Barnett nailed a vital three to make it a 15 point lead only for Damon Huffman to reply in kind. Crucially, Schneck had fouled out of the game and despite levelling momentarily, Plymouth were down by three on aggregate in the final minute.

Up stepped Jeremy Bell to sink the three to tie the game and Chapman missed at the other end as the game went into overtime with Plymouth winning 89-72 in regulation. Newcastle regained their composure to seal the win in the extra period to defeat Plymouth in the BBL Cup for the second year running.

Leicester Riders took a step closer to setting up a meeting with the defending champions after an impressive 90-70 win in Sheffield. Jay Couisnard top scored with 21 points while Mike Tuck had a 17 point, 12 rebound double-double for the Sharks.

Sheffield led 7-6 early on but Zaire Taylor’s triple put Leicester ahead and they opened up an 18-13 lead after ten minutes. The home side decided to release Gage Daye prior to the game with BJ Holmes his new replacement and the American combined with fellow recent signing, Demetrius Jemison to help tie the game at 22.

The Riders broke clear with a 14-2 burst in which Jay Couisnard scored three consecutive baskets with two coming from steals. The lead continued to rise and Taylor netted all three free throw attempts to give Leicester a comfortable 48-32 half-time advantage.

The visitors continued to dominate when play resumed and a controlling third period helped them extend their lead to 30 points with Drew Sullivan and Taylor firing in late triples to make the score 73-43.

Sheffield battled back into overall contention in the final quarter despite the lead peaking at 34 points following four points from Jamell Anderson. A 10-0 spell was followed by the final six points of the game to cut the deficit to 20 points heading into the second leg trailing 90-70.

This match was in front of the Sky cameras and will be televised on Tuesday while the return leg takes place in Leicester next weekend.

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