The Sharks extended their record, and lead at the top of the North group, to 5-1 in the BBL Cup on Friday after beating the Newcastle Eagles 93-69.
Newcastle won the tip, but the Shark’s scored first with an inside basket from Connor Cashaw.
The Eagles eventually got on the board through Sade Hussein.
Eagles guard Rahmonn Fletcher scored a tough lay in inside but then at the other end Rob Marsden tipped in a miss from Bennett Koch.
Late on in the quarter, good Eagles defense is dismantled by the entire Sharks five who kept the ball moving until Cashaw could score down low. The quarter ended 25-12 to Sharks.
Forward Mike Tuck scored Sheffield’s first points of the second period with a long two-point jumpshot.
Nick Lewis drained a tough mid-range jumpshot to extend the lead to 11.
Fletcher hit a nice pull-up two for the Eagles and shortly after Tuck let a three-pointer go and drained it from the top of the arc as the Newcastle defense collapsed.
The Sharks moved the ball beautifully up the court in transition and Tuck layed it in.
McKnight got blocked inside and Mike Morsell went coast to coast for a layup. The half ended with the score 51-32
Guard McKnight fought hard to pass out of a double team to find a wide open Mike Tuck under the basket.
Fletcher scored a tough scoop layup for Newcastle, around a well positioned Tuck.
Sheffield’s McKnight sacrificed his body to take a charge and roared with emotion.
John Mitchell hit two straight and-one finishes inside, for Newcastle, scoring both free throws.
Sharks fans erupted when McKnight beat the buzzer from deep over Rahmonn Fletcher and shimmied away to the bench, making the score 74-56 after three quarters.
Lewis opened the fourth with a quick first step creating enough room for a jump shot.
McKnight dazzled with great footwork and a tough leaning jumper for two points.
A technical foul was called on Eagles’ Kai Williams, after he was complaining about a no call.
McKnight found Tuck inside with a pretty no-look pass, creating two points.
A forceful standing slam with the right hand from Mitchell was impressive, but eventually the Sharks just ran down the clock and the game finished 93-69 in a fantastic win.
The Sharks play again this Sunday against the Phoenix in Cheshire.
Assistant Coach Nick Montgomery said the successful game-plan against Newcastle would need to be adjusted as the two opponents are vastly different teams.
Defensively, they would need to focus more on the perimeter shooting that Cheshire have, rather than the size possessed by Newcastle. “Our defense will give us our energy.”
Eagles players seemed to get frustrated with the officiating during parts of the game, but Montgomery saw an evenly refereed game. “We wanted a fast start defensively and they responded to that physically. It was inevitable fouls would be called.”
Captain Mike Tuck was knocked about a bit in the fourth quarter, but he wasn’t disconcerted by the physical approach later on. “It’s all part of the game. When you’re down that much frustration takes hold.”
He was also awarded the games MVP award finishing with 16 points. He felt it was one of his better games of the season but credited his teammates as any good captain would. “I shot the ball pretty well and my teammates kept feeding me the ball”
Sheffield: Mackey McKnight, Nick Lewis, Connor Cashaw, Rob Marsden, Bennett Koch
Newcastle: Rahmon Fletcher, Drew Lasker, Nick Schnitzer, Sade Hussein, John Mitchell