Sheffield Sharks 96 Plymouth Raiders 82
The Sharks had the best possible preparation for Sunday's BBL Cup final by thumping in-form Raiders at the EIS last night.
It was Sharks back to their exciting best after three lacklustre performances. And it was achieved against a team that has been arguably the best over recent weeks in the BBL.
Mersey Tigers' – who Sharks play in Sunday – coach Tony Garbelotto was in Sheffield for the match but he left early in the final quarter with plenty to ponder, such was Sheffield's domination over a team that had beaten his side last Sunday.
Starting with a three-guard line-up, Olu Babalola and Paul Williams with Mike Tuck on the bench, the One Health sponsored-Sharks began well.
Marcus Stout was particularly impressive early on while Babalola was also active at both ends of the court. The fast paced line-up was causing Raiders problems as Sharks led 23-13 after 10 minutes.
Raiders mounted a mini-comeback in the early exchanges of the second quarter with a 6-1 run reducing the deficit to 24-19. An Atiba Lyons three stopped the rot and set Sharks off on a 16-4 burst to make it 40-25.
With Stout and Ryan Patton running wild in the backcourt, Sheffield continued to pressure Raiders. A 12-2 run up to the half time buzzer gave Sharks their biggest lead of the match at 54-31.
Sharks kept a lead of 20 points through the majority of the third quarter. Raiders best run of 10-4 only got them back to 66-47 before Sheffield, through Stout and Tuck combined well to stretch the margin to 77-54.
After a scoreless first half Evaldas Zabas was leading Raiders better play and he set up Chez Marks for the last basket of the period to trim Sharks lead to 77-57.
But any hopes Plymouth had of staging a comeback were extinguished by a Steve Dagostino inspired 14-4 burst, which put Sharks lead to 91-61 and the match beyond the visitors.
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