The Sharks crashed out of the BBL Cup last night after being trounced by Newcastle Eagles in the north-east.
It was always going to be a tough test for Sheffield at Newcastle with just a three point lead from the first leg at the English Institute of Sport a fortnight ago, but the size of the defeat was out of character for a team that has been in excellent form recently.
It did, however, mirror a performance earlier in the season at Leicester Riders - another powerhouse of the BBL - who had limited the Sharks to just 40 points in a league match.
Sheffield had started the match reasonably well and a BJ Holmes three-pointer gave Atiba Lyons’ side a 17-16 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Sharks had talked before the match about dealing with Eagles first punch and it appeared they had done this.
But it was merely a delayed pummelling as the home side turned up the pressure at both ends of the court in the second period. A 13-0 start to the quarter turned the tie in the Eagles favour as Sharks struggled to score a point.
In fact it took them almost four minutes to register their first basket of the period through a Demtrius Jemison two to make it 29-19.
Sharks pulled closer at 33-25 on a Jemison free throw - an overall deficit of just five points - but allowed the Eagles to stretch their lead on the night to 42-29 at half time.
A strong start to the third quarter was needed to keep Sheffield in with a chance of booking a meeting with Leicester in the final next month but it was Newcastle who again seized the initiative.
Paul Gause’s three was the opening to an 11-0 run by the Eagles, which took the hosts overall advantage to 21 points.
It got worse for the Sharks with a further 19-10 burst by the Eagles putting the match beyond Sheffield at 72-43.
With just pride to play for Sheffield did edge the final quarter but it was scant consolation for Lyons’ team.
Tomorrow they return to the EIS (8pm) for a league match against the winless Birmingham Knights. It will be a chance to maintain their position at the top of the table and also to get the Eagles defeat out of the players’ minds.
n Sharks scorers: Holmes 14, Simmons 12, Jemison 11, Horstmann 8, Babalola 6, Gachette 3, Tuck 2, Sing 1.