Plymouth Raiders 86 – 74 Bristol Flyers

Plymouth Raiders finished off a perfect December with their fourth win out of four in the month, beating Bristol Flyers 86-74 to go through to the quarter-finals of the BBL Trophy.

The Raiders were without Denzel Ubiaro through injury, while Bristol travelled with a full-strength side and were boosted by the return of Mike Vigor from an extended break.

In a near full capacity Pavilions, the home side went to work from the get go, with Rashad Hassan hooking in a double of quickfire two-point shots to put his team into an early lead.

Bristol looked to respond quickly through Maltese forward Tevin Falzon who found an open lane and converted his sides first set of points from inside the paint.

Plymouth leaked 100 points in their Friday’s encounter with Surrey Scorchers and coach Paul James was clearly looking to address the defensive issues, with his side limiting the visitors to just 10 first quarter points, as well as scoring 22 points of their own.

Jonas Jarvelainen showcased his shooting from deep in the first-half with three triple-point shots to move his team further away from their south coast rivals.

Flyer’s chances in this game were not helped by their woeful shooting percentages, with just one of of their 13 first-half three-point attempts scoring them points and a field goal percentage of just 25.6%, as they went into half –time trailing 41-25.

Bristol came out in the second-half the brighter of the two sides and managed to put together a 9-point scoring run to put some doubts into the heads of the Raiders players.

But, the visitors early second-half optimism was soon dashed when Devontavious Payne sunk a three before Donte Nicholas fired in an uncontested two from the inside.

Plymouth were up by 18 points by the end of the third-quarter, allowing coach James to give valuable minutes to a couple of youngsters in his side – most notably Tola Okiki, who managed to rack up 13 more minutes in a Raiders shirt over the course of the game.

Justin Gray was a rare bright spark for the Flyers with 21 points, including a couple of three-point shots from miles out, giving something for the travelling contingent of away fans something to get excited about.

The fourth quarter saw Raiders seal the victory as Bristol fell away in the final moments of the game, winning by a score of 86-74. 

Plymouth go through to the next round of the BBL trophy and will face Glasgow Rocks.

Blaine Sperring