Jeremy Bell’s 40 point haul helped UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders to an impressive 108-86 victory at home to the London Lions. Surrey Heat were also winners on Sunday as they picked up another two points, on the road at the One Health Sharks Sheffield.
The Raiders were the final team to begin their league campaign and they made a fast start with an 11-2 close to the opening quarter providing an early 31-17 lead.
An 8-0 burst in the second made it a 22 point differential between the teams before the Lions managed to somewhat narrow the deficit by half-time as they now trailed 58-41.
Plymouth quickly restored their advantage to beyond 20 points and it would remain that way throughout the third as the visitors were unable to launch a fightback. Bell scored 12 points in the quarter to take his tally beyond 30 points; becoming the first player to do that this season. Those points placed the Raiders in a strong position heading into the final quarter leading 83-58.
The Lions edged a high scoring final quarter but were unable to prevent Plymouth from cruising past the century mark in scoring. Jordan Spencer had the final say with a late three but it was the Raiders who were left celebrating an impressive victory to kick-start their title challenge.
Bell’s incredible haul was well supported through Michael Ojo’s 23 points and a double-double of 17 points and 13 rebounds from Matt Schneck on his Plymouth debut. Duane James and Orlan Jackman shared the top scoring honours for the Lions with 16 points each as the London based side fell to a third successive defeat.
The 0-3 record was later matched by the Sheffield Sharks as they were beaten 69-81 at home to the Surrey Heat. In their previous two defeats, Gage Daye had top scored and did so again with 16 points while Chavis Holmes guided the visitors to the win with 21 points combined with 12 boards.
Surrey raced into an early double digit lead which was reduced to seven at the end of the first as Sheffield battled back to make it 18-25. The home side took the momentum into the second and a 9-0 burst midway through the quarter gave them a lead they would hold onto marginally at the interval, 42-41.
When play resumed it was the visitors who took control with a dominant third quarter as they outscored their opponents 24-7. The match was evenly poised at 43-43 before Surrey compiled a pivotal run of 18 unanswered points to move clear. Samuel Cricelli added six of those points in the productive spell for Surrey as they took a 65-49 lead into the final quarter.
Andrew Bridge made a three with less than six minutes remaining to bring the Sharks to within 12 points but they could get no closer as Surrey made it two wins out of two.
On Saturday, Leicester Riders also made it two in two after beating Cheshire Jets 80-72 which was the club’s 100th victory under Rob Paternostro. Zaire Taylor top scored with 21 points against a newly constructed Jets side, who were led by a 28 point haul from Chez Marks- in his second spell with the club.
Worcester picked up their first win of the season as they ended Manchester Giants unbeaten return to the BBL with a 92-80 victory at home. Alex Owumi continued to impress in the absence of Sherrad Prezzie-Blue with 25 points while the visitors were led by former Wolves man, David Watts, who added 20 points.
Next Week’s Fixtures- 5th October: London Lions v Surrey Heat, Manchester Giants v Newcastle Eagles; 7th October: Surrey Heat v Worcester Wolves, Plymouth Raiders v Manchester Giants, Glasgow Rocks v Newcastle Eagles, Cheshire Jets v Mersey Tigers