The B. Braun Sheffield Sharks did well this afternoon to beat the Newcastle Eagles 67-66 at Ponds Forge.
Now 4-1 in their last five games, the Sharks are starting to build some momentum to climb up the BBL championship table after their poor start.
Sheffield’s Conor Cashaw opened the scoring with a layup after excellently anticipating the Eagles’ pass and running off up court.
Guard Nick Lewis scored a nice leaning jump shot over the defence.
Two straight unanswered threes put the Eagles up by four late in the quarter.
Bouna Ndiaye drove left before pulling off a lovely step-back jumper over Will Saunders.
The quarter ended with the Eagles up 18-20.
Bigman Bennett Koch flew in to clean up a missed Sharks layup with a huge two-handed putback slam.
Captain Mike Tuck got fouled on his reverse layup attempt and still made it go, turning to the crowd with a fist pump.
Mackey McKnight showed great body control to adjust in midair and finish his fastbreak layin, with which, the Sharks took their first lead of the quarter.
In the end, the Eagles still went into the break leading by one, 35-36.
Mike Tuck scored a triple to open the second half for the Sharks.
A lovely fake from Bennett Koch got two Eagles defenders in the air and he stepped through smoothly to finish off the window.
Mike Morsell cut back door to finish nicely for Eagles with a one-handed flush.
At the end of three quarters, the Sharks finally led into a break, 53-49.
We waited two minutes for the first score of the fourth quarter, but it came from a stellar Rob Marsden and-1 as he spun left and right in the post before shoving off the contact and scoring in close.
Despite lacking a few inches in height, Ndiaye swatted Aded-Hussein at the rim, getting the SharkTank roaring.
The Sharks led by about eight for most of the quarter but Newcastle managed to cut it to just two points in the final two minutes.
Koch’s offensive rebound bought an extra 24 seconds for Sheffield with around 40 seconds to play, but Lewis missed his follow-up three-point attempt.
The win, however, was sealed by the game’s MVP Mackey McKnight, who stole the ball with 10 seconds to play and nailed his free throws after Newcastle opted to foul.
The last-second shot made by Newcastle wouldn’t have forced overtime as they were already down by four, so Sheffield walked away the 67-66 winners.
The Sharks did well down the stretch to stifle the Eagles’ offence. Captain Mike Tuck knew exactly what went their way today: “Our defence is what saved the day.”
Head Coach Abita Lyons was visibly unhappy with some of the officials call in the first half, he said: “I didn’t want them to take away our aggression by calling tiki-tak fouls.”
No single Sharks player seemed to take over the game. With Mackey McKnight and Nick Lewis both having the team-high 12 points, the former said it was a testament to the teams all-roundedness. “That’s the formula for winning basketball.”
Game MVP: Mackey McKnight (12pts, 6rebs, 4asts, 2stls)
Sheffield Sharks: Mackey McKnight, Nick Lewis, Conor Cashaw, Mike Tuck, Bennett Koch.
Newcastle Eagles: Ramon Fletcher, Rodney Glasgow, Mike Morsell, Sade Aded-Hussein, Darius Defoe