Basketball: Big victory needed for Sharks to progress

Sharks BJ Holmes, left.
Sharks BJ Holmes, left.
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Sheffield Sharks must overcome a 15-point deficit tonight when they take on Newcastle Eagles in the second leg of their BBL Championship play-offs quarterfinal.

A sell-out crowd at the English Institute of Sport should help the Sharks’ cause, but it is still a huge ask of Atiba Lyons’ team to not only beat the Eagles but beat them by enough points to advance.

Lyons says he will preach patience to his players but knows the margins of success or failure are so tight that the Sharks can’t afford to hang around.

He said: “It’s difficult because you have to play with an urgency but you can’t leave yourself wide open.

“You have to take your opportunities when they come - we’re 15 (points) back it’s not like it’s 20 or 30.”

Sharks lost the first leg 85-70 in Newcastle, but had trailed by as many as 20 points at one stage.

They’d also trimmed the deficit to nine late in the fourth quarter before Eagles’ Joe Chapman hit two threes to stretch out his team’s advantage once again.

Lyons said: “We won three of the four quarters but in the second it was too easy for them. I told the guys at half time that against any team they’d have done the same. And then when BJ (Holmes) fouled out in the fourth quarter our court management was lost. We didn’t do a good job after that.

“I think we can win the match (tonight) but we’ll have to work to get it back all the way.”

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