Surrey Heat move back into second place after a 79-63 win over the One Health Sharks Sheffield.
Martelle McLemore top scored with 25 points as the home side stormed clear in the fourth, outscoring their opponents 26-11 to come out on top.
Surrey have now beaten the Sharks twice this season which pleased Creon Raftopoulos in terms of the play-off implications.
“It’s a great result in an important win because we have won the head-to-head,” said Surrey’s play-caller.
“We were not at our best but we’ve beaten a good team which gives us confidence.”
McLemore started the game with a three pointer as the home side scored the opening five points. Sheffield moved ahead for the first time after consecutive baskets from Mike Tuck and Olu Babalola. The teams exchanged the lead over the next few minutes before Caylin Raftopoulos drained a three late in the quarter to give Surrey a slender 16-14 advantage.
Gage Daye made back-to-back baskets to put Sheffield back in front before Julius Joseph and Andrew Bridge traded scores from beyond the arc. Frank Holmes sparked a 7-2 burst with a trademark dunk but Surrey were unable to capitalise on technicals called on Atiba Lyons and Babalola, making 3/6 from the line.
Zach Gachette levelled the game with a neat reverse lay-up but missed the ensuing free throw. Sheffield had another chance to take the lead but a turnover gave Surrey the last possesion and McLemore tipped the ball in on the buzzer to make it 35-33 in favour of the hosts at the interval.
Babalola tied the game when play resumed before a number of turnovers helped Surrey compile an 8-0 run forcing Lyons into a time-out. Chavis Holmes’ floater had made it a ten point game before Sheffield produced a 15-2 burst to silence the crowd momentarily. Babalola had contributed six points in a run capped by a Micah Williams triple.
Another ferocious dunk from Frank Holmes was followed by a basket at the buzzer from Peter Simek as Surrey regained the initiative to lead 53-52 heading into the final ten minutes.
Albert Margai stepped up making two vital three pointers to set the tone for the final quarter. The visitors were still in range trailing 61-57 when Colin Sing added a free throw with seven minutes remaining.
However, Surrey seized control with a 16-1 tear containing nine points from McLemore. With the game virtually over, Raftopoulos utilised his bench in the final minute. Babalola knocked down a three to take his tally to a team high 15 points as the game ended 79-63 in favour of Surrey, who remain second with a 4-1 record.
Chavis Holmes added 13 points with namesake Frank making a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds to assist the efforts of McLemore. Sheffield sit in unfamiliar territory at the bottom of the league having lost all four of their league games so far.
Meanwhile, Glasgow Rocks edged a close first round cup clash against Manchester Giants 88-85 at the Emirates Arena. EJ Harrison top scored with 25 points while David Aliu had 20 for the visitors, who had led by as many as six points in the final quarter.
Worcester Wolves rounded off a comfortable weekend with an emphatic 98-59 win on the road to the Cheshire Jets with Daniel Belgrave leading the rout with 26 points.
Friday- Newcastle Eagles (6-0) 99-75 Durham Wildcats (1-2); CUP- Sheffield Sharks 90-59 Cheshire Jets; Mersey Tigers 54-103 Surrey Heat. Saturday- Leicester Riders (3-0) 89-83 London Lions (1-4); Worcester Wolves (2-3) 98-48 Mersey Tigers (0-3). Sunday- Surrey Heat (4-1) 79-63 Sheffield Sharks (0-4); Cheshire Jets (1-2) 59-98 Worcester Wolves (3-3); CUP- Glasgow Rocks 88-85 Manchester Giants