B. Braun Sheffield Sharks 73 – 88 Cheshire Phoenix (18-21, 37-46, 52-60)
Finding his groove from three-point range, Buffalo alumni Maceo Jack drained in 18 points off the bench, to lead all Phoenix scorers.
Larry Austin’s 16 points, nine rebounds, and four assists also proved massive for the Phoenix as they look to go undefeated heading into the weekend.
The opening quarter at Ponds Forge commenced with a back-and-forth exchange of three-point efforts.
Cheshire’s Jamell Anderson dealt the first blow, converting a corner three with Sheffield’s Kipper Nichols quickly responding with his own triple from the top of the arc.
Long-ranged shots continued to be the flavour of the game early on, Phoenix’s Will Neighbour pulling off a handful of exceptional efforts.
The visitors also made use of lightning-fast guard Larry Austin, who managed to breeze past three Sharks uniforms, completing a gutsy layup following the spin move.
Nichols remained the go-to option for the Sharks, knocking down eight first-quarter points without a miss.
As well as efficient shooting to start the game, Nichols was able to set-up athletic big man Marcus Delpeche in transition to complete an effortless alley-oop play.
Neighbour’s quarterback throw in the closing seconds provided guard Jack Hudson with an easy uncontested layup, putting the visitors ahead by three points.
In similar style to the first quarter, Neighbour once again found his range, drilling shots from deep range.
Sharks ramped up their defensive pressure, Nichols heroically denying what would have been another three-point shot for Cheshire following a shooting spree.
Delpeche battled hard as he operated in the low post for the Sharks, finding visits to the free-throw line off the back of intense post moves.
Phoenix made use of their bench players, who added 13 points as they began to edge further away into the lead.
Sharks guard Channel Banks Jr. showed off his range but three personal fouls limited his time to keep this going.
Phoenix rounded out a 25-point second quarter to put the visitors ahead by nine.
Sharks guard Sa’eed Nelson – returning from a stretch of absences – began to convert crucial baskets, becoming the first on his team to draw double-figure points.
Nelson’s ability to wade through the Phoenix defence found him plenty of opportunities to score at the charity stripe, where he was near-perfect, hitting ten of 11.
Nelson tallied ten of Sharks’ 15 third-quarter points.
For Cheshire, Austin continued to fill the stat sheet, escaping the Sharks defenders for a handful of easy buckets.
Phoenix maintained their solid lead heading into the final period.
Cheshire’s unlimited array of shooters came out firing again – Marcus Evans, Lloyd Daniels, and Tahjai Teague all converting consecutive three pointers to put Phoenix ahead.
While Cheshire carried on taking plenty of perimeter shots, Sharks were able to counter-attack effectively with Javion Ogunyemi finding himself all alone under the Cheshire basket to knock down a wide-open layup.
Despite a flurry of points for the Sharks, Cheshire’s abundance of three-point makes – 11 in total – pushed the Phoenix’s lead to 15 points.
With that, they tallied their seventh victory of the season, with another game at home tomorrow night.