IT must feel like re-arranging the chairs on the Titanic for Sheffield Sharks coach Atiba Lyons at the moment.
New players have been brought in; point guard BJ Holmes and Demetrius Jemison, but the results are staying the same. Last night at the EIS they were well beaten by Leicester Riders in the first leg of their BBL Cup semi-final, which almost makes next Saturday’s return match almost an irrelevance.
Holmes was impressive on his debut but at barely touching 6’0” in his high tops he didn’t answer Sharks biggest need of rebounding.
Against one of the best teams in the BBL the Sharks didn’t want to fall into a big early deficit and they just about managed to hang around with the Riders during the first quarter.
Sheffield fans were treated to the debut of new guard Holmes and the American looked impressive as he dished out two assists on his first two possessions.
However, Leicester used a 10-2 run in the middle of the period to lead 18-13 after 10 minutes. Sharks trimmed the gap to just a couple early in the second period but Leicester gradually pulled away using the three-point threat of veteran Yorick Williams and the sure touch of new signing Anthony Rowe.
But it was mainly the play of Jay Couisnard that contributed to Riders’ 20-8 run up the half time interval that put them 48-32 in front and well in control of the tie.
Riders put the game to bed in the third quarter with Sharks unable to stem the flow of points as the visitors lead ballooned to 73-43 entering the final period.
A late burst of threes by Sharks was too late. They travel to Durham in the league tomorrow.
n SHARKS: Tuck 17, Jemison 16, Williams 11, Holmes 10, Babalola 10, Bridge 4, Gachette 2.