Friday 3rd January 2020

BBL Trophy 1st Round

Plymouth Raiders (Wilcher 16 Mvouika 12 Hassan 7) 62 B. Braun Sheffield Sharks (Cashaw 16 Tuck 13 Marsden 12) 71

The B. Braun Sharks overcame a belligerent Plymouth Raiders side on the road to make safe passage to the Quarter Finals of the BBL Trophy. The Sharks will now travel away to Newcastle Eagles, who defeated Dunfermline Reign by a mammoth 133-61, at a date to be arranged.

Starting Fives

Raiders: Wilcher, Mvouika, Ubiaro, Smith, Hassan.

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

Key Moments

The Sharks carried their stellar form of recent weeks into the first quarter. An ‘and one’ score from Mike Tuck and a Connor Cashaw lay up gave the Sharks a 1-11 lead inside the opening three minutes. Former Shark Leslee Smith got on the sheet for the Raiders at 4-13 but a Bennett Koch dunk and a Rob Marsden mid-range effort saw the Sharks still comfortable at 13-25. Josh Wilcher reduced the arrears with a late three but Mackey McKnight concluded the quarter at 16-27.

Plymouth rallied in the second quarter. Wilcher made an ‘and one’ play at 19-29 and Mvouika’s trey at 24-36 signalled the Raiders route back into the contest. The same player made two from the line following an injury to the normally-prolific Rashad Hassan and with a minute to go, drew Plymouth to within two at 36-38. A late Mike Tuck bucket saw the Sharks in front by four as the half closed at 36-40.

A tight third quarter played out, shaded by Plymouth 19-18. Sam Daniels triple drew Plymouth within three at 41-44 early in the period but Mackey McKnight’s and one and a Mike Tuck three saw the Sharks back in front by ten at 43-53. Jonuska signalled another Plymouth fightback with a trey in the middle of the quarter and a three point play from Mvouika saw the Sharks into the penalty with the score at 53-57. A Mcknight free throw concluded the stanza at 55-58.

The final quarter was an attritional affair, ultimately well-controlled by the Sharks down the stretch. Plymouth took the lead on Turner’s hook at 59-58 but Nick Lewis restored the Sharks lead within twenty seconds. Daniels drew the home side to within a point at 62-63 but an 0-8 run from the Sharks sealed the win. McKnight cannily played full clock possessions as Nick Lewis, a Rob Marsden drive and a free throw from the point guard himself sent the Sharks into a quarter final berth.

MVP

A different type of game for the Sharks this time around but it was no less of a team affair that saw them into the next round. Mackey McKnight marshalled the team with aplomb down the stretch on his way to 9 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 block. Chief facilitator on the night was Nick Lewis, who dished out 8 assists to go with his 10 points and 4 rebounds. The Sharks forward trio of Bennett Koch, Rob Marsden and Mike Tuck weighed in with 11, 12 and 13 points respectively – Tuck now having played for the Sharks in three separate decades. The plaudits went the way of Mr Consistency, Connor Cashaw, who poured in 16 points to go with 9 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal to boot.

Next home game

B. Braun Sharks v London Lions, Sunday 19th January 2020, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, 4pm Tip Off

Ticket Link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/b-braun-sheffield-sharks-v-london-lions-tickets-78636230081

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Damian Pudner