Friday 11th October 2019
BBL Cup North Group
B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 84 Glasgow Rocks 68
The B. Braun Sheffield Sharks entertained an excitable Ponds Forge crowd on their way to solid win over the Glasgow Rocks. The Scots came into the game with a burgeoning reputation but the Sharks married thrilling offence with intense defence to move to 3-1 and third place in the North pool.
Sharks: Lewis, Backovic, Marsden, McKnight, Koch.
Rocks: Murray, Fraser, Pryor, Rinkunas, Pepper.
Glasgow carried their good form of late into the opening of the contest taking an 8-14 lead on the back of Murray’s 3 plus 1 score at the mid-point of the first. Connor Cashaw’s first points as a Shark was an ‘and one’ score that drew matters level at 16 apiece. Nick Lewis’ trey and Mackey McKnight’s Euro-step to the hoop put the Sharks ahead by 21-18 but as Pryor, Bunyan and Pepper edged the Scots back in front, McKnight’s triple ended the quarter at 24-25.
Bouna Ndiaye took his competitive bow for the Sharks at the start of the second quarter and his assist to Lewis saw the Sharks on the high side by 37-30. Ndiaye claimed his first Sharks points with a trey at 40-33 and a long two from Lewis made the points difference ten at 48-38. Glasgow reduced that by one at half time but 51-40 represented a thrilling twenty minutes of basketball from Atiba Lyons charges.
The third quarter was an altogether more defensive affair. The Rocks got to within five points at 56-51 on the back of a hot spell from Great Britain’s Gareth Murray but it was the Sharks who were to finish stronger. Mackey McKnight led the revival with a three at 60-51 and a delightful spin move from Bennett Koch increased that further at 65-53. Bunyan closed the quarter at 68-56 but the Sharks remained in command.
Eli Pepper continued a superlative shooting night with a three at 68-59 but things unravelled again for the Rocks as Fraser fouled out with a considerable five and a half minutes still to play. Koch was perfect in two trips to the line and finished up an outstanding Sheffield display as the game concluded at 84-68.
A key feature of the Sharks of 2019-20 is the willingness to score from all over the floor. Rob Marsden double-doubled at 10 points and 12 rebounds. Bennett Koch made himself a constant nuisance in the paint and deserved a solid return of 16 points and 4 rebounds. Mackey McKnight continued his rich vein of shooting form with 22 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. The MVP award went the way of his backcourt partner Nick Lewis however. Lewis was averaging 20 points per game prior to the contest and filled up the statline once again with 19 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals.
Atiba Lyons praised his side and the ‘fun’ brand of basketball they are purveying.
Next home game
B. Braun Sharks v Newcastle Eagles, Friday 25th October 2019, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, 7.30pm Tip Off