BBL Cup Group Stage
Sunday 29th November 2020
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks v Newcastle Eagles

The simple part first; The B. Braun Sheffield Sharks need to win both their remaining games in the BBL Cup group stage to have a chance of progression. Now the hard part; London’s 98-89 win over Leicester at the weekend means that the Sharks also now have to improve their points difference by a significant margin to gain qualification if all sides were to finish in a four-way tie on 3-3 records. Nobody said it would be easy but hey at least it makes for an intriguing Sunday afternoon shoot out!

What to expect

It may have been a case of foot slightly off the gas for Newcastle in last week’s 79-99 home defeat to London or equally a sign that the Lions were finally gelling as a team. Nonetheless, this is a very talented Eagles side we are talking about. The twenty point dip might not have done their basket difference any good either but when you have the likes of two-time MVP Rahmon Fletcher, free scoring big Evan Maxwell, power forward Justin Gordon and versatile guard Cortez Edwards in your ranks, points are never far away. And that’s before you come to the veteran wiles of Darius Defoe, Drew Lasker, Louis Sayers and Eddie Matthew. New signing and GB call-up Rex Pflueger played no part in last Friday’s game and if Newcastle avoid defeat by a significant margin against the Sharks, then their progress to the next phase is as good as sealed. However, it’s all about momentum and Eagles Coach Ian Macleod will be keen to see the men in black and white keeping that winning habit especially with the league programme on the horizon.

Shark Watch

The Sharks currently have a basket difference of -37 so not only do they need two wins, they need two big wins. Group 3 of the BBL Cup has been the toughest of groups, considerably more than any of the others and the Sharks know they will have been in six of the hardest games to commence their competitive campaign. Not only that, the schedule hasn’t been kind and they face four games in the coming nine days so fitness will play a part. At least the Newcastle encounter allows them to play without fear – they need to win and win big so caution can be thrown to the wind – they have nothing to lose in that respect. Furthermore, the Sharks are involved in the regular season league opener next Thursday so they have to work on their plans ahead of the main focus. No dull games in the BBL even at this stage!

Last Time Out

Newcastle Eagles (Fletcher 25 Maxwell 22 Edwards 16) 97 B. Braun Sheffield Sharks (Lillard 23 Koch 20 Lewis 16) 87

Fans Corner

A feast of Sharks basketball to come for you in the next week or so! Deep breath, here goes! This Sunday we host Newcastle Eagles in a 3pm tip off at Ponds Forge. Tune in to Sky Sports on Thursday as we open the BBL league season from the Eagles Community Arena when we take on Cheshire Phoenix in the first game of a double header evening (5pm Tip). We return to Ponds Forge on Sunday 6th December at 3pm when Surrey Scorchers are our visitors and the following evening (Monday 7th December) we round off our BBL Cup group on the road in Leicester (8pm tip). As ever, check our social media channels for streaming details and don’t forget the big one on Sky on Thursday!

Next Game

B. Braun Sheffield Sharks v Newcastle Eagles, Sunday 29th November 2020, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, 3pm Tip Off


Adam Bates