SHEFFIELD Sharks demonstrated their increasing maturity as a team last night with a comfortable 88-70 victory over an in-form Durham Wildcats.
After early season struggles the Sharks are suddenly playing with fluency on offence and a meanness defensively that forced Durham to rely on three-point shots.
Micah Williams was the main threat for Sheffield as he led the way with 26 points, while Mike Tuck was his usually efficient presence in the paint with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
After a 6-2 end to the first quarter had given Sharks a 23-16 lead Wildcats levelled the match at 26-26 early in the second period.
However that was the cue for a barrage of three-pointers from Williams and young guard Nick Lewis.
American Williams connected on four in the quarter and Lewis twice as Sheffield surged 47-30 ahead.
Durham briefly rallied but a BJ Holmes basket made it 49-34 at half time.
Through Tuck and the increasingly impressive Demetrius Jemison the Sharks kept Durham at arm’s length during the third quarter.
A Tuck two made it 59-42 midway through the period before two free throws by Williams sent Sharks into the final 10 minutes with a 67-51 advantage.
Durham never looked like mounting a comeback as Sharks excellent start to 2013 continues.
* SHARKS: Williams 26, Holmes 16, Tuck 15, Jemison 12, Bridge 9, Lewis 8, Babalola 2.
* Sheffield have been drawn against Cheshire Phoenix or Worthing Thunder in the semi-finals of the BBL Trophy.
* UK Sport has agreed to fund basketball - less than two months after ruling the sport would not have a penny towards its Olympic programme. The sport will have to prove itself over the next 12 months to secure further funding towards the Rio 2016 Olympics.
* Follow The Star sports writer Richard Fidler on Twitter @richardfidler. For breaking news keep checking The Star website or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sheffieldstar or Twitter at www.twitter.com/sheffieldstar”