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BBL – 2015-16 Season Previews – Week 28


Mar 23, 2016 #BBL
Friday 25 March 2016
CH   19:30   Sheffield Sharks  v  Bristol Flyers
CH   19:30   Surrey Scorchers  v  Leicester Riders
Saturday 26 March 2016
CH   19:30   Leicester Riders  v  Bristol Flyers
Sunday 27 March 2016
CH   17:00   Glasgow Rocks  v  Leeds Force
CH   18:00   Manchester Giants  v  Surrey Scorchers
CH   16:00   Plymouth University Raiders  v  Cheshire Phoenix
Wednesday 30 March 2016
CH   19:30   London Lions v Cheshire Phoenix
CH   19:30   Surrey Scorchers v Leicester Riders

Sheffield Sharks v Bristol Flyers
Where and when:
EIS Sheffield, 7.30pm Friday 25 March
Sheffield Sharks seek to regain their positive momentum – and grip on fourth position – when they host Bristol Flyers on Friday.
These teams met less than three weeks ago, with Flyers edging a tight battle, as part of a sequence of three defeats in four games for Sharks.
Sharks are in action against Yorkshire rivals Leeds Force on Wednesday, after Glasgow Rocks pulled level with them on 30 points at the weekend.
Flyers enter the weekend eight points off the top eight and with a trip to Leicester Riders to followon Saturday.
Last time they met:
Bristol Flyers 69 Sheffield Sharks 65 (BBL Championship, WISE Basketball Arena, 05 March 2016)
Sharks: LWLLWL
Flyers: LWLLWL
Three Points:
  • Sharks have won three of the five BBL meetings between these teams
  • Mike Tuck needs 23 more points to reach 3,000 in BBL Championship play
  • Colin Sing needs nine more defensive rebounds to 500 in BBL Championship play
What they say:
Flyers guard Roy Owen: “We have clearly made things tough for us regarding the Play-Off race. I think the belief is still there within the team. However, it’s about taking it one game at at time. Playing as hard as well can and seeing where we end up at the end of the season.
“The last time we played Sheffield we matched them physically and countered their physicality on defence by moving the ball early and having all five guys involved. Playing at their place is a whole different ball game as they are a strong  home team.”

Surrey Scorchers v Leicester Riders

Where and when:


Surrey Sports Park, 7.30pm Friday 25 March


Leicester Community Sports Arena, 7.30pm Wednesday 30 March




Leicester Riders and Surrey Scorchers face off twice in the space of five days this week as the title challengers’ schedule begins to build up.


Last weekend’s win against leaders Esh Group Eagles Newcastle set Riders on course to overtake the reigning champions, if they can win their games in hand.


But with four games to make up, Rob Paternostro’s men must battle fatigue before they can think about their opponents.


Riders travel to Surrey on Friday before hosting Bristol Flyers 24 hours later and welcoming Scorchers to the East Midlands for their final meeting of the season on Wednesday.


Last time they met:


Leicester Riders 91 Surrey Scorchers 74 (BBL Championship, Leicester Community Sports Arena, 05 March 2016)




Scorchers: LLLLLL

Riders: WWWWWW


Three Points:


·         Riders have won their last 15 away games

·         KC Ross-Miller scored 23 points in a losing effort when these teams met earlier this month

·         Tayo Ogedengbe needs two more rebounds to reach 1,000 in BBL Championship play


What they say:


Riders coach Rob Paternostro: “The two times we’ve played them they’ve both been competitive games. I think that when you look at their team, they certainly are quick, can get to open spaces and make plays.


Friday will be our first trip down there and we understand that recently they’ve played very well at home.”


Riders guard Neil Watson: “We are expecting Surrey’s best shot as they are playing for something just like we are.


“You can’t call anything now with regards to the title, it’s too early and as you can tell fromSaturday’s game [against London] everyone’s best shot will be fired at us.”


Scorchers coach Creon Raftopoulos: “Rob [Paternostro, coach] has done a tremendous job at Riders and we know they won’t be taking us lightly this Friday. Last time we played them we did a good job for three quarters and let ourselves down in the third.


“Championship teams like Riders and Eagles know how to win games especially tight ones going into the fourth quarter. That’s something that has hurt us this season. We know we will have to play almost the best game of our season to stand a chance against them but we believe we have the ability to compete.


“My guys have been giving their all with the small rotation of players we have and I can’t ask for more so hope their hard work can bring us and the fans some winning results in our championship run in .


“Andrew Sullivan for me continues to be a big time player in our league and controlling him will be key.”


Tickets: www.leicesterriders.co.uk and www.surreyscorchers.co.uk.

Leicester Riders v Bristol Flyers
Where and when:
Leicester Community Sports Arena, 7.30pm Saturday 26 March
Leicester Riders and Bristol Flyers btoh complete a tough back-to-back when they square off on Saturday.
Riders will have faced Surrey Scorchers just 24 hours before when Flyers go up against Sharks.
It will be a big weekend for both clubs with Riders aiming to consolidate the upper hand in the race for the title after last weekend’s win against Esh Group Eagles Newcastle, while Flyers are running out of time to close the gap to the top eight.
Last time they met:
Bristol Flyers 55 Leicester Riders 66 (BBL Championship, WISE Basketball Arena, 12 February 2016)
Riders: WWWWWW
Flyers: LWLLWL
Three Points:
  • Riders have won all five BBL meetings between these teams
  • Riders have restricted Flyers to fewer than 70 points during all five of those games
  • Only Esh Group Eagles Newcastle get more points-per-game from their bench than Riders’ 24.7 while only Cheshire Phoenix get fewer than Flyers’ 11.31
What they say:
Riders coach Rob Paternostro: “It’s another team that is playing with urgency and trying to get into the Play-Offs and they have a talented roster. When you look at the players they have, they are a strong team both on the perimeter and inside and the Flyers have guys who are capable of having big games.”
Flyers guard Roy Owen: “Leicester are one of the most versatile teams in the league, having multiple threats at each position.
“We have had quite close games with them but not being able to finish the games off. Facing them we have to a approach it with a ‘nothing to lose’ mentality and see where we end up.”

Glasgow Rocks v Leeds Force
Where and when:
Emirates Arena, 5.00pm Sunday 27 March
Leeds Force should not be short of motivation when they travel to Glasgow Rocks on Friday.
As well as chasing a spot in the BBL Play-Offs, Matt Newby’s men will be out to avenge their heart-breaking 75-74 defeat at the hands of the Scottish club nine days earlier.
Force had trailed by 15 points with five minutes remaining before taking the lead with six seconds to play only for Kieron Achara to snatch victory.
Force are in action against Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Sharks on Wednesday, before this one.
Last time they met:
Glasgow Rocks 75 Leeds Force 74 (BBL Championship, Emirates Arena, 18 March 2016)
Three Points:
  • Rocks have won six of the seven meetings between these teams
  • Will Hall had 20 points and 10 rebounds against Force – his former club – last week
  • Force coach Matt Newby set is team the target of winning five of their last seven games before facing Rocks last weekend
What they say:
Rocks guard Jordan Clarke: “We are definitely hitting our stride now. We’ve made a few adjustments to the team late in the season and we are playing much better together. Everybody is getting along great and our team chemistry has remained great after all the changes.
“Right now we are focusing on being on the higher end of the Play-Off seeding when the time comes. We have been playing good basketball and we have set our goals high for the next few months.
[On facing the same opponent twice in quick succession]:
“The issue is that one team can have a tendency to come out hungrier than the other depending on each team’s mind-set. If the winning team comes out too confident and the losing team comes out with that chip on their shoulder from the last game it can be troublesome for the previous winners. If the winning team however comes out with the same intensity and the losing team comes out sluggish then it’s a complete different ball game.
“As for Rocks and Force, both teams have played each other twice so far, the series is 1-1 and both teams are hungry to get the edge over the other. So it’s going to come down to making adjustment from the last game and who can execute better on both ends of the floor.”

Manchester Giants v Surrey Scorchers
Where and when:
Lucozade Soccerdome, 6.00pm Sunday 27 March
The BBL Championship’s bottom two meet on Sunday with both desperate to finish the season strongly.
With two young and fast developing groups, there have been moments of promise for both teams this term.
Scorchers have struggled to turn that potential into points, however, losing each of their last six games.
Giants have won two of their last four games, and without a contest last weekend, have had time to focus on this next test.
Last time they met:
Surrey Scorchers 96 Manchester Giants 82 (BBL Championship, Surrey Sports Park, 02 October 2015)
Giants: LLWLLW
Scorchers: LLLLLL
Three Points:
  • Surrey have won the last three meetings between these teams
  • Nick Schlitzer scored 22 points when these teams last met back in October
  • Giants are converting the highest percentage of free throws in the league this season, 73.77%
What they say:
Giants guard Reiss Haggith: “As a team we are trying to finish the season strong and get the results we know we are more than capable of, on top of that we are a very young and new team, so we understand that our campaign is a process over many seasons so finishing the season strong would be great going in to next year.
“Personally I’m just trying to help this team as best I can in whatever way I can. I feel that I’ve really been given a good opportunity with the Giants to show what I have the potential to do in this league and I aim to just build and improve on that.
“Of the bottom teams, Surrey have been particularly difficult against us this season so it would nice to get a good result against them. But to be honest our main focus is always on ourselves and we have confidence in our own abilities and methods to beat anybody, so as long as we stay true to our identity and game plan we will be ok.
“To beat them we will need to limit their points in the paint, the addition of Flo [Larkai] has helped with that. Obviously we are a team of shooters so hopefully the extra week of practice will mean are shots are on point. And finally the youngsters on our team have had to step up in a big way recently due to various injuries and other factors and have played a big part recently, so its important that they continue to be a positive factor in the game and the end result.”
Scorchers coach Creon Raftopoulos: “Giants sit above us in the Championship and this will be a huge game to decide where we might finish on the league table mid April.
“Yorick [Williams, coach] has done a fantastic job with his group and the experience of [Callum] Jones and [Stef] Gill has been priceless for the young guys. The addition of a genuine big man in [Flo] Larkai gives them even more experience to help the younger core of players.
“This will be our third game in seven days so I expect my guys to give their all and dig deep for what will be a huge game for both clubs.”

Plymouth University Raiders v Cheshire Phoenix
Where and when:
Plymouth Pavilions, 4.00pm Sunday 27 March
Plymouth Raiders will hope to have their talismanic leader fit and firing again when they welcome Cheshire Phoenix for one of their biggest games of the season.
The two teams go into Sunday’s crunch meeting tied on 24 points, sitting just inside the Play-Off places.
Raiders were without player-coach Daryl Corletto for last Friday’s defeat to Worcester Wolves before he returned, despite not being fully fit, to help his team claim a key victory against Bristol Flyers.
Phoenix bounced back from two consecutive defeats to beat Sheffield Sharks in dramatic fashion and tee things up nicely for this one.
Raiders have already claimed the season series, and with it the head-to-head tie-breaker, butSunday’s victors will take a big step towards the post-season.
Last time they met:
Plymouth Raiders 100 Cheshire Phoenix 89 (BBL Championship, Plymouth Pavilions, 21 February 2016)
Raiders: WLWWLW
Phoenix: LWWLLW
Three Points:
  • Daryl Corletto missed Raiders’ trip to Worcester Wolves last weekend with flu
  • Phoenix have won seven of the last eight meetings between these teams
  • Raiders forward Adrien Sturt, who played for Phoenix last season, needs eight more made field goals to reach 500 in the BBL Championship
What they say:
Raiders player-coach Daryl Corletto: “I am feeling a bit better now, I missed last Friday with the flu, the boys battled hard and showed a lot of character to get back up on Sunday and beat Bristol in a big game.
“I was about 70% fit Sunday but I will be 100% by this weekend for a huge game against Cheshire.

“This is a huge game in terms of where both teams could finish in the Play-Off race, for us we will be focusing on how we can get better again this week. We have had a pretty good six weeks now but it’s now time to step it up again and hopefully lock away a Play-Off spot. Once the Play-Offs start it’s a new season and anything can happen.

“Cheshire are a team that is playing great basketball right now, they are building at the right time of the season. They have some quality scorers on their squad with [Akeem] Ellis and [Kinu] Rochford.
“They play a very up-tempo style of game which we also like to play so it should be an entertaining game.
“Again to beat a team like Cheshire we need to play with effort and intensity for 40 minutes, these are two things we can control so I’m sure the guys mind-sets will be ready to go on Sunday.”
Phoenix captain David Aliu: “The Plymouth game is massive. It’s another must-win. If we can win that game it puts us in a really good place in terms of making the Play-Offs.
“We’ve got the kind of team this year where we have lots of guys that can score, lots of energy. For me, my whole objective this season is just keeping everybody on the same page and sticking together.
“When it comes down to the end of the season, it is those teams that stick together and are close that are the ones that are going to do a lot better.
“I’ve just been trying to be that glue.
“We’ve got so many fantastic scorers, it’s just important that when I’m on the court, I try and keep everybody together.”

London Lions v Cheshire Phoenix
Where and when:
Copper Box Arena, 7.30pm Wednesday 30 March
London Lions and Cheshire Phoenix will both be aiming to stay ahead of the BBL Play-Off chasing pack when they meet on Wednesday.
Phoenix and Lions sat in seventh and eighth position following last weekend’s games, just in front of Leeds Force and Bristol Flyers.
Both sides have held higher league positions throughout the season but have slipped into a dangerous spot during recent weeks, and victory in this one would go a long way to stabilising their post-season push.
Last time they met:
Cheshire Phoenix 70 London Lions 76 (BBL Championship, Cheshire Oaks Arena, 31 January 2016)
Phoenix: LWWLLW
Three Points:
  • Lions have won six of the last 11 meetings between these teams
  • Lions have already claimed the season series between these teams, and with it the head-to-head tie-breaker
  • Lions lead the league in offensive rebounds with 12.28 per-game
What they say:
Phoenix captain David Aliu: “You are never going to play a perfect game in basketball, but the more you can limit those mistakes, you put yourself in a better position.
“We just have to make sure we come out hard from the beginning of the game. Then the second half, third quarter is quite bit bugbear for us because we always tend to fall off a little bit, the intensity dies down.
“We need to make sure we play hard for 40 minutes, focus on sharing the ball and taking good shots at good times, being a bit smarter down the stretch. But we are getting better at that.”

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