Lyons expects tough battle at league new boys

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sheffield Sharks player-coach Atiba Lyons is urging his team not to take BBL newcomers Durham Wildcats lightly ahead of Saturday’s clash in the north-east.

It is the first time Sharks have played Durham since the Wildcats joined the top league at the beginning of the season.

Sharks ended a run of five straight losses last week when Nate Reinking sunk a buzzer beater to defeat Worcester Wolves 76-75. It left Sheffield seventh in the table with a 2-4 record, and well below where they want to be.

Lyons says he expects another tough game against a team he believes will cause a few shocks. He said: “I think they are on the verge of turning the corner and getting the wins they’ve been close to.

“They’ll have confidence and we need to play for a full 40 minutes. I’ve seen some game film of them, and they shoot the ball really well.

“We need to contest the three point shots and play well defensively.”

Lyons was pleased to see his side end their losing streak against the Wolves: “We played six minutes of top quality basketball, and luckily enough that was enough to get the job done.

“Nate (Reinking) played really well for us and Jimmy Langhurst hit some big shots. Olu (Babalola) had a really good fourth period defensively.”

Durham coach Dave Elderkin agreed with Lyons that his club is beginning to get a sense of belonging to the elite level of British basketball.

Despite just one win from their first five league matches he said they’re on track to making a success of their campaign: “I think we’re through phase one - I believe the guys now think they are a genuine BBL outfit, they should because they are.”