SHEFFIELD Sharks were able to cruise to a relatively straightforward 94-74 victory last night against BBL whipping boys Mersey Tigers at the EIS.
The win gives Sharks their first back-to-back league successes this season following last Sunday’s win at Durham Wildcats. If Sheffield had thought they’d be in for a comfortable evening then the opening gave them pause for thought as the visitors led 10-4, finding their range from beyond the three-point line.
At such an early stage there was no need to panic and the Sharks had wiped the Tigers advantage away with a 16-2 burst that helped them to a 29-16 first quarter lead.
Sharks moved the game away from Mersey during a second quarter run that took the score from 32-22 to 51-31.
Demetrius Jemison, Zach Gachette and Andrew Bridge all played their part in creating the 20 point lead and although Tigers scored the final points of the half Sheffield were well in control.
Coach Atiba Lyons took the opportunity of giving young guards Nick Lewis and Zach Gachette plenty of court time in the third quarter with new signings BJ Holmes and Jemison also given the chance to bed into the Sharks system. With 10 minutes to play Sheffield led 73-52. Tigers used a barrage of three-pointers to pull back to 87-72 late in the fourth quarter, but could get no closer.
Sharks travel to Leicester Riders tonight facing an uphill task to reach the BBL Cup final. Sheffield trail 90-70 after the first leg of the semi-final last Friday at the EIS. The winners will play Newcastle Eagles next month.
n SHARKS: Tuck 21, Gachette 15, Jemison 13, Lewis 11, Williams 11, Holmes 9, Bridge 7, Babalola 4, Sing 3.