Sunday 19th January 2020
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 86 London Lions 91
The B. Braun Sharks pushed league leaders London Lions all the way but were left to rue a slow start that saw them always playing catch-up. Skipper Mike Tuck led from the front for 16 points but GB duo Ovie Soko and Justin Robinson proved to be the Sharks undoing with 23 and 27 points respectively.
Sharks: Lewis, Cashaw, McKnight, Tuck, Marsden.
Lions: Peel, Dang Akodo, Robinson, Soko, Tuach.
Soko’s and one play opened proceedings and it wasn’t really until a Mike Tuck trey that the Sharks got back in touch with London at 7-12. However, the home side also hit the penalty as Soko (4), Dang Akodo and Tew saw the Lions comfortably in front at 11-21 after the initial ten minutes of play.
It was a wholly more productive second quarter for the Sharks. The introduction of Bouna Ndiaye proved effective as he ran in seven points to close the gap at 23-30. The same player made a scintillating drive at 33-39 and Mackey McKnight’s and one score saw that soon become 36-39. Connor Cashaw’s reverse layup concluded a 30-22 quarter and set up a tense third quarter as the half closed at 41-43.
Like the first quarter, the Sharks lapsed in the opening moments of the third. Justin Robinson went 3-6-9 and although Mike Tuck replied with three out of the corner, 46-54 gave London the momentum they needed. Six further points from Brandon Peel saw them take a thirteen point advantage into the final period at 55-68.
The Sharks managed a growing foul count throughout and the Lions maintained a comfortable lead at 63-77 midway through the quarter. Back to back triples from McKnight and Cashaw signalled the fightback with the score at 76-83. With both teams in the bonus, the final 46 seconds became a series of trips to the charity stripe. Nate Montgomery’s bucket saw the Sharks to within three at 86-89 but it was a pair of Justin Robinson free throws that closed out a narrow win for London with the score at 86-91.
There was a typically never-say-die double double of 12 points and 10 rebounds for Rob Marsden. Mackey McKnight contributed 14 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, comparable with Connor Cashaw, who weighed in with 14 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists. It was Mike Tuck however who took the fight to the Lions, especially against his Sky Sports NBA colleague Ovie Soko, ending with 16 points, 6 rebounds and an assist.
Marko Backovic spoke of his and Coach Lyons disappointment at a sporadic performance and the need to be more consistent ahead of a big BBL Trophy quarter final away at Newcastle on Friday.
Next home game
B. Braun Sharks v Surrey Scorchers, Friday 31st January 2020, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, 7.30pm Tip Off.