BBL Championship

Saturday 29th February 2020

Leicester Riders v B. Braun Sheffield Sharks

The international window is over and the B. Braun Sharks will be hoping some of the Great Britain spirit will be rubbing off on them as they head into an important fixture this weekend. The Sharks make the relatively short journey down to third placed Leicester Riders, who are unbeaten in their last five games with a 6-2 record.

What to expect

The Riders have raised their game since the Sharks raced into a 31-14 lead in that abandoned contest back at turn of the New Year. Joining the roster to good effect has been Corey Johnson, averaging 14.8 points per game and shooting 43% in his five games so far. Namon Wright (17.5 ppg) has been a consistently high scorer for Leicester throughout the season and Kyron Cartwright’s assist ratio (9.1 per game) is right up there with the best. Another addition in the backcourt to Cartwright is Jordan Spencer and he has been equally generous with the dishes, adding a further 8.2 in the five games since his return to BBL action. The Riders now have a fit Josh Ward-Hibbert, who was on fire in early season and plenty of BBL experience from the likes of Jamell Anderson and Andrew Thomson in what is a pretty stacked roster. Leicester demonstrated how high they are riding at the moment by taking down Plymouth, who themselves were boasting new additions in Mike Scott, Will Neighbour and Ryan Richards, by 90-74 in their last outing. Quite frankly, you would expect nothing less from Riders Coach Rob Paternostro and Saturday’s game at their Morningside Arena is as usual a daunting prospect.

Shark Watch

The Sharks match up admirably in the stats leaders against the Riders. Connor Cashaw sits between Wright and Johnson with a very healthy 16.7 points per game and heads all rebounders with 8.2 per game. Nick Lewis contributes a solid 14.2 points per game and the old warhorse himself, Captain Mike Tuck is showing the way to go by shooting 44.4% from downtown. The Sharks did a professional job in seeing off Manchester Giants by 106-87 in their last encounter and it will need to be another focused, business-like performance if they are to come away from the East Midlands with the spoils. The foreshortened game at the end of December proved that they are more than capable of putting Leicester on the back foot and a similar spirit will be needed again.

Last time out

B. Braun Sharks (Lewis 29 Cashaw 20 Ndiaye 9) 79 Leicester Riders (Scott 20 Anderson 13 Cartwright 10) 63

Fans Corner

We hope Great Britain’s success over the Germans last Monday helped fill the time until your next dose of Sharks basketball. The guys are back with a short road trip down to Leicester on Saturday to take on Rob Paternostro’s Riders. If you can’t travel to Leicester, check out the BBL’s YouTube page for live and free coverage from 7.30pm. And don’t forget you can get a whole heap of Sharks action next month when our very own version of March Madness comes to town. We have no less than 5 home games! Check out our special ticket offers – we start with the visit of Manchester Giants on Friday 6th March. Join us – it’s going to be fast and furious!

Next home game

B. Braun Sharks v Manchester Giants, Friday 6th March 2020, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, 7.30pm Tip Off

Ticket Link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/b-braun-sheffield-sharks-v-manchester-giants-tickets-78638338387

March Madness Ticket Offer: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/march-madness-ticket-sale-tickets-95016794791

March Pick Three Ticket Offer: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pick-3-ticket-sale-tickets-95024594119

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Andy Chubb