Saturday 29th February 2020

BBL Championship

Leicester Riders (Wright 20 Anderson 13 Thomson 12) 87 B. Braun Sheffield Sharks (Ndiaye 21 Lewis 18 Cashaw 14) 80

The B. Braun Sharks took a narrow defeat in adverse circumstances, clawing back a twenty point deficit before eventually going down by 87-80. The Sharks, minus Mackey McKnight who was understandably absent due to a family bereavement, put in a hard working shift but weren’t quite able to prevent Leicester picking up a sixth consecutive win.

Starting Fives

Riders: Cartwright, Chuku, Anderson, Wright, Nelson-Henry.

Sharks: Lewis, Cashaw, Backovic, Tuck, Koch.

Key Moments

Bennett Koch opened the scoring but three’s from Namon Wright and Jamell Anderson took Leicester out to an 8-4 lead. Andrew Thomson drained a further pair from distance but the introduction of Bouna Ndiaye and a trey from Mike Tuck inside the final twenty seconds saw the Sharks still in touch at 22-17 by the end of the quarter.

A big three and a shot off the glass saw Nick Lewis tie the game at 24-24 and it took a triple from Kyron Cartwright to break the deadlock with 5.16 to play in the half. That shot sparked an 11-0 run from the Riders to the end of the quarter, which concluded on Thomson’s free throws at 40-28.

Lewis attempted to keep the Sharks in the contest at the top of the third but three’s from Wright and Chuku and a drive from Cartwright saw Leicester seemingly cruising at 55-35. Lewis hit another trey at 57-40 and a pair of Ndiaye mid-rangers capped a 2-9 Sharks run at 59-46. Namon Wright continued his exemplary shooting display at 62-46 but a Bennett Koch bucket at the end of the stanza saw the score close at 62-50.

Ndiaye and Lewis both found success from downtown at 70-60 with under seven minutes to play. Ndiaye took the deficit into single figures with a drive and an off-balance two and Connor Cashaw saw that down to four with a triple at 77-73. Corey Johnson edged Leicester back in front by seven going into the final two minutes but Cashaw proved the Sharks weren’t going away with another trey at 82-78. Cashaw, pressed into a significant spell of ball handling, took that down to three at 83-80 but with the Sharks in the penalty, Wright and Ward-Hibbert gleaned the necessary free throws to see the home side to an 87-80 win.

MVP

The Sharks already small roster was shorn even further by the loss of influential point guard McKnight but several stepped up to the plate in his absence. Bennett Koch provided the muscle on his way to 12 points and 6 rebounds. Nick Lewis hit some big triples as well as sharing the ball handling as he came away with 18 points, 5 rebounds and an assist. Connor Cashaw also did more than his fare share of facilitating, coming very close to a triple double with 14 points, 7 rebounds, 10 assists and a steal. However, providing a good deal of energy with his best score in a Sharks jersey was Bouna Ndiaye. He posted 21 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and a block, frequently coming up with some tough shots that almost got the Sharks over the line.

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

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

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

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@peteman82 / @5or6