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2015-16 Season Previews – Week 8

British_Basketball_League_(emblem)THIS WEEK’S GAMES
Friday 6 November 2015
CUP Quarter Finals   19:30 Worcester Wolves  v  London Lions
Saturday 7 November 2015
Sunday 8 November 2015
CUP Quarter Finals   16:00 Leicester Riders  v  Sheffield Sharks
Leeds Force v Plymouth University Raiders
Where and when:
Carnegie Sports Centre, 7.30pm Friday 6 November
Summary:
Friday’s meeting between Leeds Force and Plymouth Raiders could be one of the defining moments in the individual campaigns of these clubs.
Without a game last weekend, Force were able to re-group following four defeats in a row and will see this as a fantastic opportunity to arrest that slide.
For Raiders, they are the only BBL team still waiting for a win this season, and new player-coach Daryl Corletto will be equally optimistic heading into this one.
Last time they met:
Leeds Force 80 Plymouth Raiders 93 (BBL Championship, Carnegie Sports Centre, 09 January 2015)
Form:
Force: WLLLLL
Raiders: LLLLLL
Three Points:
  • Raiders’ defence is giving up more points than any other in the BBL so far, conceding 87.4 points-per-game
  • Force lead the league turnovers at 15.38 per-game while Raiders are third in steals with 6.6
  • Raiders have won all three meetings between these teams in the BBL
What they say:
Force guard Dwayne Camille: “Plymouth are not having a great start to the season but that doesn’t mean we’ll sleep on them. Our main focus in games is to make it as hard as we can on the defensive end and the offence will come naturally, and we will apply this in the game on Friday.”
Raiders guard Josh Wilcher: “It hasn’t been an ideal start, but the guys and the club are really getting around Daryl and trying to make the transition for him as easy as possible. He is a great leader and someone who can help us a lot going forward.
“We really want to get our first win Friday night. We think Leeds are a solid side and they have had some great results this season but for ourselves we want to come out firing and get one under our belts. We’re going to have to play a full 40 minutes to get the win against them.”
Sheffield Sharks v Manchester Giants
Where and when:
EIS Sheffield, 7.30pm Friday 6 November
Summary:
Sheffield Sharks and Manchester Giants renew their Trans-Pennine rivalry on Friday, this time with the aim of climbing the BBL Championship table.
The teams met less than a month ago in the BBL Cup First Round, Sharks prevailing 82-77 amid Giants’ six-game losing slide.
But the Manchester club have since bucked that trend with an impressive away with at London Lions and will be full of confidence ahead of travelling to a Sheffield side narrowly beaten by Worcester Wolves last time out.
Last time they met:
Sheffield Sharks 82 Manchester Giants 77 (BBL Cup First Round, EIS Sheffield, 16 Oct 2015)
Form:
Sharks: LWLWWL
Giants: LLLLLW
Three Points:
  • Sharks had two players in the latest BBL All-Star Five, Antone Robinson and Jerrold Brooks
  • Stef Gill needs five more field goals to reach 500 in the BBL Championship
  • Sharks have won 12 of the 14 meetings between these teams since Giants returned to the BBL in 2012
What they say:
Sharks forward Patrick Horstmann: “We need to become more consistent and improve on the defensive end.
“Manchester are a talented team that have many good scorers. We need to play good defence for 40 minutes and control the tempo of the game to have a chance to win.”
Giants guard Callum Jones: “Staying together defensively is key. We definitely need to gang rebound because we are such a small team, a lot of other teams seem to want to try and beat us up inside. We can look to take that away by forcing them into outside shots, we just have to make sure we are rebounding the basketball.
“Offensively, it’s just a case of sharing the ball. We have guys that are really talented so nobody needs to take more than 13, 14 shots a game. We never really have that, we just need to trust each other, share the ball, and just keep growing.”
Worcester Wolves v London Lions
Where and when:
University of Worcester Arena, 7.30pm Friday 6 November
Summary:
Worcester Wolves must end their London Lions hoodoo if they are to advance to the last four of the BBL Cup.
Lions have won each of the past four meetings between these teams, the most recent two of those eliminating Wolves from last season’s BBL Play-Offs at the Quarter-Final stage.
But Paul James’ side go into Friday’s clash in fine form, having won six of their seven games this season, including a gutsy 90-87 defeat of Sheffield Sharks last time out.
Lions, however, have struggled for consistency of late, following back-to-back wins with a home reverse against Manchester Giants last Thursday.
Last time they met:
London Lions 106 Worcester Wolves 67 (BBL Play-Off Quarter-Finals second leg – Lions won 186-142, Copper Box, 26 April 2015)
Form:
Wolves: WLWWWW
Lions: WLLWWL
Three Points:
  • Josh Cameron had 20 points, including five in crunch time, during his Wolves debut against Sheffield Sharks
  • Wolves have not reached the BBL Cup Semi-Finals since the 2011-12 season
  • Lions have not reached the BBL Cup Semi-Finals since the 2009-10 season
What they say:
Wolves forward Ben Eaves: “Playing together has been key for us. Helping each other. Coach has been on us since the beginning about what we can do for the next person, so that sets a selfless tone, which is important. I think each time we have played we’ve accomplished something in order to grow as a unit. Our job is to keep climbing and improve in all areas but as long as we stick together, I’m sure we can continue to do that.

“London have a talented group and like anybody else in the league they can be dangerous, but we try to focus on us and do what we need to do. I think a sense of urgency is always there in these games because advancing or not rests on that one game, but that makes it fun.”

Bristol Flyers v Glasgow Rocks
 
Where and when:
WISE Basketball Arena, 7.30pm Saturday 7 November
Summary:
Bristol Flyers aim to keep it rolling when they welcome Glasgow Rocks to WISE Basketball Arena on Saturday.
After a slow start, Flyers won three of four games before going without a contest last weekend.
The solitary loss in that sequence came against the unbeaten Esh Group Eagles Newcastle, who dumped Rocks out of the BBL Cup last Friday.
Rocks have been up-and-down to this point as they bring together a new group, but have shown in patches what their talented roster is capable of.
Last time they met:
Bristol Flyers 91 Glasgow Rocks 97 (BBL Championship, WISE Basketball Arena, 11 April 2015)
Form:
Flyers: LLWLWW
Rocks: LWLWLL
Three Points:
  • Rocks won all five meetings between these teams during Flyers’ first season in the BBL
  • Only Leicester Riders average more three-point field goals per-game than Flyers’ 9.86 while only Leeds Force average fewer than Rocks’ 5.33
  • Cardell McFarland is the leading individual scorer from either side going into this game, averaging 20.6 points-per-game
What they say:
Flyers coach Andreas Kapoulas: “The last few weeks have been very good for us as a group, we have been getting better every day in practice and the results can be seen in the way our team has performed recently.
“We feel a lot more connected than the first few games of the season and we have been able to close out games. We were aware of the free weekend and we wanted to make sure the mini-break does not affect our focus and momentum. We added a few practices and a couple of competitive scrimmages to make sure we stay in good game shape and now we are back to our routine of a normal week leading to weekend fixtures
“As I have said before the league is extremely competitive this season and it’s about building momentum and being at our best when it matters most. Glasgow are finding their way as a team and it’s normal to have variations in performance at this point of the season.
“They suffered the tough loss to Sheffield but came back strong with a big performance against champions Newcastle and that shows the team character that they possess. They have a very good group led by one of the best players in the league Kieron Achara and an experienced head coach. We need to find ways to limit their offensive production as they will be very tough to stop if they get going.”
Plymouth University Raiders v Glasgow Rocks
Where and when:
Plymouth Pavilions, 4.00pm Sunday 8 November
Summary:
The resolve of Plymouth Raiders and Glasgow Rocks will be put to the test when they clash on the south coast on Sunday.
Raiders, without a win in their first six games of the season, travel to Leeds Force on Friday ahead of this key home encounter.
Rocks meanwhile will complete a tough back-to-back having faced Bristol Flyers less than 24 hours earlier.
Last time they met:
Plymouth Raiders 85 Glasgow Rocks 100 (BBL Championship Plymouth Pavilions, 19 April 2015)
Form:
Raiders: LLLLLL
Rocks: LWLWLL
Three Points:
  • Raiders had beaten Rocks seven times in a row prior to the Scottish club’s 100-85 success in their previous meeting
  • Raiders’ point guard Josh Wilcher leads the league in assists with seven per-game
  • Rocks (45.18%) and Raiders (43.61%) are two of the bottom three teams in the BBL in terms of field goal shooting with only Leeds Force (43.54%) worse off
What they say:
Raiders guard Josh Wilcher: “Glasgow are a good outfit, we really respect them and the group they have put together. But we owe our fans a home win after some not great results at home so we’re hoping to get over the line in a tough physical match.”
Cheshire Phoenix v Leeds Force
Where and when:
Cheshire Oaks Arena, 5.30pm Sunday 8 November
Summary:
Cheshire Phoenix host Leeds Force on Sunday seeking their first win at the brand new Cheshire Oaks Arena.
Despite three wins away from home, John Lavery’s men have lost all three games in their new home.
Phoenix have now tasted defeat in each of their last four games in total, following last Friday’sreverse at Sheffield Sharks.
Force did not have a game in the previous round of fixtures, but enter the weekend on an identical run, before welcoming Plymouth Raiders to Carnegie Sports Centre on Friday, ahead of this one.
Last time they met:
Leeds Force 60 Cheshire Phoenix 63 (BBL Championship, Carnegie Sports Centre, 18 September 2015)
Form:
Phoenix: WWLLLL
Force: WWLLLL
Three Points:
  • Phoenix’s Jordan Williams leads the BBL in scoring with 21.3 points-per-game
  • This will be Matt Newby’s 50th game in charge of Leeds Force in the BBL
  • The previous two meetings between these teams have been decided by three points or fewer
What they say:
Force guard Dwyane Camille: “Last weekend was a great opportunity for us as a team to reflect on how the season has been going so far and how we can improve. Watching a lot of tape of our previous games helped us to see the errors we made as a team and individually on both ends of the floor.
“Key areas we need to improve on would be our togetherness on the court. Nobody is selfish on my team but as a collective we need to be on the same page at all times in the game if we want wins, and this is improving day by day.
“Cheshire Phoenix are a good team and will capitalise on our mistakes. One mistake we made in our first game against Cheshire was that we started the game slow, however, in this meeting we will look to bring the game to them from the tip-off with good team defence and controlled offence.”
Leicester Riders v Sheffield Sharks
Where and when:
Loughborough, 6.00pm Sunday 8 November
Summary:
Sheffield Sharks get another shot at the unbeaten Leicester Riders on Sunday, this time in the BBL Cup.
Sharks appeared to have Rob Paternostro’s perfect Riders on the ropes at times during their league meeting in Sheffield just a couple of weeks ago.
But Riders’ depth told and they were able to maintain their intensity throughout to pull away late on.
Sharks responded to that reverse with back-to-back wins against Glasgow Rocks and Cheshire Phoenix before falling to Worcester Wolves, and host Manchester Giants on Friday ahead of this one – with a place in the last four at stake.
Last time they met:
Sheffield Sharks 77 Leicester Riders 96 (BBL Championship, EIS Sheffield, 23 October 2015)
Form:
Riders: WWWWWW
Sharks: LWLWWL
Three Points:
  • Riders have won the BBL Cup in two of the previous three seasons
  • Sharks have advanced at least as far as the BBL Cup Semi-Finals in five of the previous six seasons
  • Riders’ forward TrayVonn Wright this week won the first BBL Player of Month award of the season
What they say:
Riders centre Barry Lamble: “They are going to be looking for revenge because I think it was quite a close game up in Sheffield, apart from the last five minutes. I don’t think the score did the game justice.
“We made some big shots and they missed a few at the end, but it could have gone either way in those last five minutes of the game.
“It’s going to be a tough game as they’ve got players who’ve been playing well in the last couple of weeks, like TJ Robinson who had 25 points and 19 rebounds the week after losing to us.
“We can’t take anything for granted and we’ll have to be on the ball for the full 40 minutes. The biggest saving grace for us is we’re going to be at home which is a hard place for opposing teams, as we don’t lose many games at home.
“They have got players who know how to play. Mike Tuck has been around for many years and is a driving force for that team, and Mike Cook is a former league MVP.”
Sharks forward Patrick Horstmann: “Leicester are a tough team with many good individual players. We need to – again – be more consistent and play good defence as well as move the ball on offence to be in a position that gives us a chance to advance in the Cup.”
Surrey Scorchers v Bristol Flyers
Where and when:
Surrey Sports Park, 3.30pm Sunday 8 November
Summary:
Surrey Scorchers host Bristol Flyers on Sunday in a repeat of their opening night thriller.
Late-game heroics helped Scorchers over the line in that one, but Flyers will be motivated to level the season series given that they entered the final stages of that contest in control.
Scorchers have won two of their five games since then and will be aiming for back-to-back wins for the first time this season while Flyers seek to extend a good run, which sees them enter the weekend with three wins in the last four prior to Friday’s game against Glasgow Rocks.
Last time they met:
Bristol Flyers 68 Surrey Scorchers 71 (BBL Championship, WISE Basketball Arena, 19 September 2015)
Form:
Scorchers: WLWLLW
Flyers: LLWLWW
Three Points:
  • Tayo Ogedengbe had a 19-point, 12-rebound double-double when these teams met in their opening game of the season
  • Flyers (60.58%) and Scorchers (61.06%) are the league’s bottom two teams in terms of free-throw shooting
  • Flyers have won three of the five BBL meetings between these clubs
What they say:
Flyers coach Andreas Kapoulas: “It was a tough way for us to open the season with a loss at home [against Surrey] especially as we went into the final period with a good lead.
“They have good depth and a number of offensive weapons to go to. We will need to be very consistent in our performance on both ends of the court and not just for the Sunday game. We need to produce two of our best team performances so far this season to secure two very valuable wins this coming weekend.”

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