BBL Championship
Sunday 20th December 2020
Glasgow Rocks v B. Braun Sheffield Sharks

The B. Braun Sheffield Sharks round off 2020 with the long journey north of the border to take on the Glasgow Rocks. It’s been a mixed bag for new Player-Coach Gareth Murray so far but progress to the next round of the BBL Cup and an overtime win in Plymouth last Sunday leave them with renewed optimism for the future. The Sharks of course will look to build on that efficient take down of Bristol Flyers from last time out.

What to expect

The Rocks under newly-installed Coach Murray progressed to the next round of the BBL Cup with wins over Cheshire (93-63, 73-86) and Manchester (83-73). Their BBL Championship form looked a little shaky after big defeats to Manchester (86-66) and Bristol (96-54). However, they came out on top of a tense overtime game at an impressive-looking Plymouth side, claiming a 61-63 success. Coach Murray led from the front, playing all 45 minutes for 21 points, closely followed by Isa Brandon with 19. Brandon is of course the son of former Sharks Coach Jim and he put in a big shift along with long-time Rocks point guard Johnny Bunyan. Murray has dipped into his contacts from his time in France to recruit David Mpondo, ex of Boulogne and Marc Kwedi, late of Le Havre and forward Julius Van Sauers is a known quantity from his time with Worcester Wolves last season. Murray is a strong competitor, much valued from his Great Britain career. The fact that he steered his side to that Plymouth win shows that he will keep his side a force to be reckoned with.

Shark Watch

The Sharks will want to close out 2020 in the right manner with a win. They gained plaudits for their defence in the 74-64 loss to Leicester last Friday but ultimately came up a little short in the shooting stakes as the Midlanders pulled away in the second half. Much better was the 87-62 win over Bristol last Sunday. The Flyers had taken a huge 42 point win over Glasgow the night before but the Sharks came flying out of the traps to take a big ‘w’. Among the dunk-fest, Antwon Lillard top-scored with 19, going slam for slam with Kipper Nichols (17). However, it was a statline-filling 18 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals from Jeremy Hemsley that took the MVP honours. The supporting cast to the performance was good too; 8 points / 8 rebounds for Rob Marsden, 2 big treys for Mike Tuck, another 10 points for Johde Campbell, a mature 4 assists for Nicholas Lewis – it all adds up to teamwork. The Sharks go a fortnight without action after the Glasgow encounter so getting the win is all the more important.

Last Time Out

Glasgow Rocks (Fraser 19 Malcolm 17 Pryor / Vinson 13) 98 B. Braun Sheffield Sharks (Cashaw 17 Ndiaye 14 Koch 10) 61

Fans Corner

The only place to catch the Sharks final game of 2020 is at www.bblplayer.co.uk. Why not give yourself a little pre-Christmas treat and send some virtual cheer to Atiba and the guys as they try to end the year on a high note (and let’s face it, we need something to cheer about after this crazy year eh?!!). We next return to action on Sunday January 3rd so fill the basketball void in your festive season with a mince pie, the tipple of your choice and the gift of hoops! You know it makes sense!

Next Game

Glasgow Rocks v B. Braun Sheffield Sharks, Sunday 20th December 2020, Emirates Arena, 5pm Tip Off

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Adam Bates