Friday 5th February 2021
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 77 Glasgow Rocks 61
The B. Braun Sheffield Sharks claimed an important head to head, broke a losing streak and moved up to sixth in the BBL table with a well-managed win over Glasgow Rocks. Aside from a second quarter hot streak from the Rocks, the Sharks took charge at key moments, led by a fine double-double from Antwon Lillard, to record a much-needed win. The Sharks complete the second half of their weekend double header with a trip to Manchester on Sunday.
Sharks: Nichols, Ratinho, Tuck, Lillard, Hemsley.
Rocks: Mpondo, Kwedi, Delph, Murray, Keeling.
After an early Glasgow burst led by Ronald Delph at 3-6, the Sharks went on to dominate the rest of the opening quarter. Ten points from Lillard, including two monster dunks at 15-10 and 21-12 put them well in command. Rocks player-coach and recent GB call-up Gareth Murray connected from downtown and a Julius Van Sauers trip to the line saw the stanza end at 21-16.
Murray’s triple kickstarted a superlative shooting display from Glasgow in the second quarter. Keeling and Malcolm opened the period with back to back treys and despite Johde Campbell replying in kind for the Sharks, it wasn’t long before six points from Boban Jacdonmi and a three from captain Jonny Bunyan saw Coach Lyons calling for time with the score at 32-37. Fraser Malcolm added Glasgow’s fifth triple of the quarter inside the final minute to cap a 2-10 run for the Scots and a half time difference of 32-40.
Kipper Nichols stepped up for the Sharks in a big way in the third quarter. He poured in 13 points, concluding with a three that saw the Sharks return to the lead with the score at 49-48. Jordan Ratinho ended a 10-2 run with three of his own as it was the Rocks who were sent scrambling for a timeout. Despite Murray scoring out of the break, another Lillard bucket capped a 22-10 quarter with the Sharks up by 54-50.
Solid defence and tidy game management saw the Sharks claim a much needed win in the fourth period. Glasgow entered the penalty with over six minutes to play as prolonged spells of solid defence saw Coach Murray talk it over once more. Bennett Koch made himself a nuisance in the paint to good effect and a Lillard triple saw the Ponds Forge outfit maintaining their lead at 69-58. A Jeremy Hemsley lay up concluded matters with the score at 77-61 as their four game losing streak came to end.
There was an efficient performance from Bennett Koch, who shot four of five from the field and made his presence count in the paint for 13 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Likewise Kipper Nichols. Scoreless until the third quarter, he went off for 13 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 4 steals to reverse the Sharks fortunes and put them on the road to victory. The MVP however was productive from start to finish. After 10 points in the first quarter, Antwon Lillard made the most of being restored to the starting five to record a terrific double-double of 21 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal.
Post Game Interview
Manchester Giants v B. Braun Sheffield Sharks, Sunday 7th February 2021, National Basketball Performance Centre, 5pm Tip Off.