Sunday 20th December 2020
Glasgow Rocks 78 B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 96
The B. Braun Sheffield Sharks are driving home for Christmas with a comfortable 78-96 road win in Glasgow under their belts. The South Yorkshire side went through the gears in the second half particularly to move to a 3-2 record as their run of games in 2020 came to an end. Nicholas Lewis put up a highly polished display to record 32 points with 7 rebounds to marshal his team to the 18 point success.
Rocks: Brandon, Mpondo, Van Sauers, Malcolm, Jacdonmi.
Sharks: Lewis, Lillard, Koch, Nichols, Hemsley.
The home town Rocks opened the brighter, going into a 5-0 lead on Jacdonmi’s ‘and one’ play and a Mpondo bucket. Nicholas Lewis put the Sharks back ahead at 5-6 and after trading baskets, Jeremy Hemsley eventually restored Sharks lead at 12-14 off a Lillard three point attempt. The Sharks pulled away to end the quarter – Lillard making the extra point after Nichols steal at 16-20 and Hemsley also picking the Rocks’ pockets to finish the period at 16-22.
Glasgow player-coach Gareth Murray showed all his veteran wiles with the first five points of the second stanza. The bearded GB international inspired his team into a 27-22 lead on Fraser Malcolm’s triple inside the opening three minutes. The Sharks responded through treys from Johde Campbell and skipper Mike Tuck and capped an 0-8 run through Rob Marsden with the score at 31-33. Murray made a three plus one play for the Rocks but they only made two further points to the end of the half which closed at 37-41 in favour of the Sharks.
Despite racking up 12 fouls in the first half, it was a much more polished display from Atiba Lyons’ men in the second, beginning with a 15-30 third period. Nicholas Lewis capped a 2-10 run as the Sharks took the score out to 39-51 as the game unravelled for Glasgow with Jacdonmi and Brandon’s fourth fouls and an unsportmanslike foul for Murray. Six Lewis points ended the quarter with the score at 52-71.
Julius Van Sauers attempted to keep the Rocks in touch from the mid range at 58-73 early in the fourth but a corner triple from Lewis and four points from Kipper Nichols saw the Sharks well and truly in command at 58-80. Lewis made his fourth and fifth scores from downtown and despite Isa Brandon, son of former Sharks Coach Jim, and Van Sauers replying in kind at the end of the game, a 78-96 scoreline reflected the magnitude of the Sheffield victory.
There were solid team contributions from Johde Campbell (8 points 3 rebounds 4 assists) and Kipper Nichols (8 points 2 rebounds 2 assists 3 steals) with both intervening in the game at crucial moments. There was the now customary flirt with a double-double from Antwon Lillard, who put up 10 points with 8 rebounds and 2 assists but there were two players who combined for 57 of the Sharks points. Jeremy Hemsley once again filled the statlines with another explosive 23 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals. The MVP award went the way of Nicholas Lewis however. He came back from 2 early fouls to pour in 32 points with 7 rebounds, shooting 85% from inside and 71% from distance in a very calm, collected and mature fashion.
Sharks skipper Mike Tuck spoke of a pleasing win and left a little message for the Sharknation.
‘It’s always great to pull out a win after a long trip up to Scotland. It was a great team effort all around but Nicholas and Jeremy really came to play. We’re all looking forward to continuing developing into 2021. A big Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our supporters!!’
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks v Plymouth Raiders, Sunday 3rd January 2021, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, 3pm Tip Off.