BBL Trophy 1st Round
Friday 22nd January 2021
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks v Plymouth Raiders
The excitement of knockout basketball comes to Ponds Forge on Friday as the B. Braun Sheffield Sharks take on Plymouth Raiders in the first round of the BBL Trophy. The two sides met just three weeks ago in the league with the Sharks taking a hard fought 83-78 win in a physical encounter. A quarter final tie away at either Worcester or Manchester awaits the winners.
What to expect
Plymouth proved to have a big physical presence in the recent league encounter. The towering Prince Ibeh came up with an impressive 7 blocks in the game to go with 9 rebounds and was a key feature of the Raiders play. Their scoring was led by GB international Ashley Hamilton, himself no slouch off the boards, who recorded 19 points with 7 rebounds and there was an impressive performance from Chris Porter-Bunton, who showed his versatility with 18 points before sitting with foul trouble. Rickey McGill looked a useful pick up, demonstrating why he has been coveted by G League teams and alongside in the likes of Elvisi Dusha, Denzel Ubiaro, Will Neighbour and Elliot Sentence, the Raiders have a formidable unit that perhaps hasn’t quite yet reached it’s potential. Plymouth have lost their last three games since that fixture with the Sharks, albeit against Leicester twice (71-77 and 70-82) and last weekend narrowly to Newcastle (77-76) so signs are that they might be about to break out and in knockout basketball, it’s go hard or go home – a motivating factor in itself.
The Sharks will be looking to bounce back from a weekend they would rather forget. The team left it a little too late in the Sky Sports game against Newcastle on Friday to claw back a 21 point deficit in the final quarter, finishing 8 points short at 84-92. Then on Sunday, they received some close defensive attention from Glasgow Rocks, who ground out a 65-54 win at the Emirates Arena. Friday however sees a return to knockout basketball. Win and you are that step closer to silverware, lose and you are ‘concentrating on the league.’ The Sharks have recent experience of Plymouth and their physicality and will need a much-improved shooting night if they are to get one over Paul James and his men once again. One thing is for certain, a week of hard grind will have followed and no stone will have been left unturned to put the team back on track.
Last Time Out
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks (Lillard 20 Hemsley 19 Ratinho 17) 83 Plymouth Raiders (Hamilton 19 Porter-Bunton 18 McGill 16) 78
You can find this week’s game on www.bblplayer.co.uk with a tip off time of 6pm. Want to get behind the guys? Send us your messages of support on Twitter (@sheffieldsharks), Facebook (www.facebook.com/SheffieldSharks) or Instagram (www.instagram.com/sheffieldsharks). We love to hear from you and can’t wait until you join us in the Tank once more!
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks v Plymouth Raiders, Friday 22nd January 2021, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, 6pm Tip Off