Sheffield Sharks welcomed back talisman Nate Reinking into their line up last night as they eased past BBL basement club Durham Wildcats at the EIS.
GB international Reinking, who has been out for two months with a knee injury, had only a limited role in Sharks’ victory but the match was more about preparing for the Play-Offs rather than enhancing a middling league performance.
Sharks began well but Durham were already showing they could be a threat with their shooting from three-point range. DJ Glavan was a menace as he helped the visitors to a 22-20 lead after 10 minutes. Reinking scored the first points of his return with a three to key an 11-0 Sharks run that put them 33-24 on top, but Ralph Bucci and Glavan inspired Wildcats to retake the lead at 36-35.
Jimmy Langhurst had the last word of the first half as he sank a three from the corner at the buzzer to give Sheffield a 38-36 advantage.
Durham were proving tough to shake off for the Sharks and they led 50-48 after another Glavan basket.
However, it was the spark that Sheffield needed as the impressive Mike Tuck and Olu Babalola led a 17-5 run up to the end of the third quarter to put Sharks 63-53 ahead. A 6-0 run to start the final period gave Sharks their biggest lead of the night at 69-53 before Durham made it interesting with a 20-10 close to the match.
The closest Wildcats got was with the final basket of the night which was another three pointer from Glavan.
n SHARKS scorers: Tuck 24, Babalola 20, Patton 15, Langhurst 9, Reinking 6, Gachette 2, Sing 2, Lyons 1.