Friday 25th October 2019
BBL Cup North Group
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 93 Newcastle Eagles 69
The B. Braun Sheffield Sharks edged ever nearer to confirming a BBL Cup quarter final berth with a scintillating 24 point win over a talented Newcastle Eagles side. Thoughts of a close affair following last weekend’s overtime thriller were soon banished as the Sharks locked down on defence and took immediate control on their way to a memorable win.
Sharks: Lewis, Cashaw, Marsden, McKnight, Koch.
Eagles: Lasker, Fletcher, Schlitzer, Mitchell, Aded-Hussein
Defence! The Sharks went 6-0 up on Cashaw’s bucket in the first three minutes on the back of some outstanding defence. Nick Lewis’ trey at 13-4 only served to confirm the Sharks dominance and his backcourt partner Mackey McKnight repeated the feat at 20-8 later in the period. Rob Marsden added to a first quarter statline of 7 points and 6 rebounds with an assist to Cashaw to make it 25-10 and only a Darius Defoe score reduced the deficit at 25-12 after ten minutes play.
Newcastle tried to force their way back into the contest at the beginning of the second quarter. Darius Defoe’s and one play was followed by Eddie Matthew’s triple with the score at 27-18. Nick Lewis had other ideas with another outrageous three point score and Mike Tuck continued his rich vein of shooting form with one straight from the top of the key. The floodgates opened from then on – Lewis, Ndiaye and Tuck once more saw the Sharks to a commanding 51-32 halftime lead.
Seven further points from Mike Tuck saw the Sharks take a 60-35 lead early in the third stanza. The game took a slightly ugly turn as Bennett Koch picked up his fourth foul on a contested call at the midway point. A sublime assist from Rob Marsden to the ever-improving Connor Cashaw gave the Sharks a 71-53 advantage and McKnight’s huge triple on the buzzer saw the quarter end at 74-56.
Uncharacteristically, Newcastle somewhat lost their composure at the top of the fourth as Morsell, playing in place of Rodney Glasgow, exited the contest with his fifth foul. McKnight’s fake and mid-range score made it 81-56 as Darius Defoe also reached his foul limit with 5.53 to play. Mike Tuck continued to defy the years with six more deftly converted points before the Sharks gave valuable game time to Josh Chubb, Marko Backovic and Nate Montgomery on their way to a famous 93-69 finale.
Without sounding like a stuck record, again the award could have gone several ways. Kickstarting on defence was Rob Marsden. Filling up his statline with 12 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals showed the big Doncastrian’s will-to-win. Ever-improving and a key part of the rotation is Connor Cashaw. 15 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists showed his importance to the Sharks of 19-20. Mr Influential once again was Nick Lewis – another stuffed statline of 19 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists had the Sharknation on their feet. Ditto Mackey McKnight – 20 points, 4 rebounds and 12 assists – another energetic, breathless effort. But all of these Sharks play their role and none more so than their influential skipper Mike Tuck. 22 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists showed that age is just a number and that every member of this roster will play their part during an exciting campaign to come.
He came in for some robust treatment but Bennett Koch spoke of his desire and effort to help the Sharks throughout an undoubtedly thrilling season ahead.
Next home game
B. Braun Sharks v Leicester Riders, Sunday 10th November 2019, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, 4.00pm Tip Off