Sheffield completed a remarkable comeback to stun Plymouth with an 102-99 victory in front of their home fans. In the night’s other games, Glasgow snatched a late 81-79 win at Mersey while Cheshire inflicted a third consecutive defeat on the league champions with a 98-81 win on the road.
Plymouth spurned the opportunity to finish second in the league after losing a high-scoring encounter 127-113 away to the MK Lions earlier in the week. Gavin Love’s men now look set for a play-off clash with Glasgow after a second loss on the road in two days. The visitors were rampant in the early stages against the Sharks and had a commanding 15 point lead at the half.
However, the home side bounced back superbly in the second half scoring an impressive 38 points in the third to cut the gap to 73-81 heading into the final quarter. The momentum was with Sheffield and they ended on a high as Mike Tuck gave the home side the lead as they passed the century mark within the final minute. Jimmy Langhurst top scored for Sheffield with 29 points as they held on in the final few seconds to take a step closer to securing sixth place.
However, Cheshire are still on their tails and the two sides will meet at the Northgate Arena on Sunday to determine who will take sixth place with Guildford also lurking around trying to finish as high as possible. The Jets continued their recent run of good results with a win over a Newcastle side missing three of their key players in Charles Smith, Joe Chapman and Andrew Thomson.
The visitors used a 9-2 finish to the opening quarter to establish an early 22-28 advantage. In the second, a 9-0 burst, containing triples from Kai Williams and Colin O’Reilly helped the lead to peak at 26-39 before Newcastle battled back to make it a four point game at the interval, 45-49.
Cheshire stayed in control during the third quarter, extending their lead before Darius Defoe netted a rare three to cut the deficit back to four. Williams capped an 8-0 run with another score from beyond the arc although Paul Gause responded in kind, on the buzzer, to make it 66-75 with ten minutes to play. Cheshire did not relinquish their advantage and completed a 15 point margin of victory as Fab Flournoy took the opportunity to give the younger members of the bench some court time.
Williams led the way for the Jets with a game high 29 points with O’Reilly adding 19 points along with 10 assists and Gause making 26 points for Newcastle.
Mersey’s valiant effort was undone in the final seconds by the Glasgow Rocks as two free throws from EJ Harrison denied last year’s treble winners the chance to finish their season with a victory. The Tigers only had six men available for the night and David Aliu top scored with 23 points and Devan Bailey almost completing a triple-double with 10 points, 12 assists and 7 rebounds.
Aliu netted a trio of triples in the first quarter, helping the home side to a 27-24 advantage after ten minutes. The lead had extended into double figures in the second but Gareth Murray scored from beyond the arc twice in the final minute to make it 46-41 to Mersey at the half.
The lead was further trimmed by the Rocks in the third quarter and they set up an exciting finish, edging the quarter 16-13 in terms of scoring. With under seven minutes remaining and Glasgow finally took the lead for the first time as a tense finish ensued. Aliu made it 79-77 to the Tigers with a minute left but a two from Murray followed by the two free throws from Harrison gave fifth placed Glasgow the win.
None of the play-off quarter finals have been determined yet as the regular season reaches its conclusion over the weekend with the 2-4 spots and 6-8 still to be decided.