There was an upset in the BBL Trophy as the competition got underway on Friday night.
NBL D1 side Essex Leopards held their nerve to beat Manchester Giants 86-84 behind 32 points from Darrell Bethune.
Also advancing to the Last Eight were Worcester Wolves as Danny Huffor netted 31 points to lead his side past DBL Sharks Sheffield in a 99-68 victory.
Meanwhile, Esh Group Eagles Newcastle powered their way to a 116-93 win against Cheshire Phoenix with three players registering double-doubles in the success.
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 116 (38,54,82) (Martin 34, Parks 23, Fletcher 21)
Cheshire Phoenix 93 (23,54,73) (Brown 24, May-Thompson 22, Eaves 18)
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle extended their lead at the top of the BBL Championship after beating Cheshire Phoenix 116-93.
Three Eagles players registered double-doubles with Scott Martin leading the way with 34 points, 11 rebounds as well as five assists. Rahmon Fletcher added 21 points to go with 11 assists and Orlan Jackman had 12 points and 13 boards.
Newcastle now have a 15-2 record as they continue to build momentum ahead of next Sunday’s BBL Cup Final.
Both teams found their range from downtown early on with the game tied at 10 before the Eagles soon broke clear with a dominant 16-2 spell to lead by 17.
Newcastle were still in command at 48-32 but the visitors began to edge away at the lead and Earl Brown scored the final five points of the half to cap a 15-2 close which tied the game going into the interval.
The game was tied again at 69, but Newcastle put in a strong finish to the period with Fletcher scoring the final five points to push his side ahead by nine points.
There was no let-up in the final quarter as the Eagles continued to stretch away before completing the victory.
Earl Brown led Phoenix with 24 points as they drop to 4-11 having earlier announced that Josh Wilcher is ruled out for the rest of the season.
BBL Trophy, First Round
Worcester Wolves 99 (21,46,72) (Huffor 31, Bachman 23, Khan 13)
DBL Sharks Sheffield 68 (15,33,47) (Riley 16, Rembert 15, Thornton 10)
Worcester Wolves advanced to the Last Eight of the BBL Trophy after an impressive 99-68 win to eliminate DBL Sharks Sheffield.
The home side, led by Danny Huffor’s 31 points, netted 16 3-pointers en route to a convincing victory in front of the BBC Sport cameras and they will play London Lions or Surrey Scorchers next.
Sheffield had made a bright start and led 4-9 early on but that was as good as it got for the visitors. Huffor netted three straight triples before soon following with a fourth to fire his side ahead at 21-15 at the end of the opening period.
A three from Jordan Davis did briefly hand the Sharks back the lead but Worcester broke clear and opened up a double-digit advantage going into half-time.
Paul James’ side continued to extend their advantage in the second half and another strong period helped open up a commanding 25-point lead ahead of the final 10 minutes.
The threes kept dropping for the hosts in the fourth and they booked their spot in the Quarter-Finals in style with an emphatic home win.
BBL Trophy, First Round
Essex Leopards 86 (26,49,65) (Bethune 32, Martin 20, Roberts 16)
Manchester Giants 84 (17,38,62) (Okoro 17, Toluwase 14, Jones 12)
Essex Leopards caused the first upset of the BBL Trophy after knocking out Manchester Giants with an 86-84 victory.
Former BBL player Darrell Bethune netted 32 points to help the NBL Division 1 side advance to the Quarter-Finals with veteran forward Mike Martin adding 20 points.
The Giants trailed by as many as 15 points at one stage, but looked to have completed a turnaround only for Bethune to connect with a huge three with 44 seconds left.
Manchester started brightly and were 13-17 ahead in the first before the Leopards went on a 17-0 run across quarters to take control with Martin leading the charge.
Essex led 36-21 in the second and maintained their double-digit advantage going into half-time before the expected fightback began in the third for the visitors.
A 6-0 burst helped Manchester cut the gap to three heading into the fourth and they took the lead on a 7-0 start to the final period. However, Essex refused to roll over and the lead changed hands throughout an exciting finish.
The Giants led 81-84 inside the final two minutes before the Leopards scored the final five points to pull off the upset win.
Jerelle Okoro had 17 points for the Giants and their focus quickly turns back to the league with a trip to Bristol Flyers tomorrow.