Rocks 72 vs 77 Raiders

Your Plymouth Raiders return to the south-coast with a precious W after an incredible comeback against the Glasgow Rocks.  The Raiders ran out 77-72 victors in a game that had looked dead and buried at the half. 

The first quarter was a scrappy affair with both teams looking to assert their defensive authority early on.  Missed shots were a common theme in the first few minutes and possession changed hands at a high rate with rebounds and steals dominating the early action.  

First blood went to the Rocks, a powerful drive resulting in a lay-up by Rocks’ star Guard/Forward Bruno Ndiaye.  Ndiaye provided a constant threat for the Rocks and led the team with 15 points and four rebounds at the close of play.  

Donte Nicholas and Devontavius Payne shone for the Raiders in what was a disjointed first quarter performance riddled with inaccuracy and turnovers. Raiders Point Guard Tola Okiki closed out the first quarter with a well-timed three, making it 16-13 to the home side.

After a low scoring first quarter, Glasgow moved up a gear and started to control the possession as well as the scoring.  The Rocks caught fire in the first four minutes of the second period outscoring Plymouth 11-2 with Ndiaye and Kenny Carpenter catching the eye.  A Raider’s timeout did little to halt the second quarter landslide from the Rocks, who continued to rack up the points, displaying an impressive shooting accuracy from field.   

Despite the widening deficit, Raiders new signing and two-time BBL team of the year Power Forward, Rashad Hassan, started to stamp his authority on the game with a lay-up and 2-point jump shot that cut the lead to 11 with just under three minutes left in the second.  Ndiaye quickly dispelled any notion of a second quarter Raiders comeback with a resounding dunk that drew rapturous applause from the Glasgow crowd.  With 40 seconds left in the first half, Gareth Murray drained a three, which allowed the Rocks to take a seemingly insurmountable 41-27 lead going into the break. 

Hassan opened the scoring for the Raiders with a driving lay-up just seconds into the third quarter but two free throws and a three pointer later, Plymouth found themselves staring down the barrel.  The score was 46-29; the Raiders would need an 18-point swing to win the game.  Despite a consistent stream of points, the Raiders found themselves 13 points down with 2:16 left in the third.

This was the game.  With two minutes left, the Raiders surged back into contention with a monumental three by Denzel Ubiaro and two free throws courtesy of the ever-reliable Josh Wilcher. The Raiders had managed to cut the lead to just six points with one quarter left to play.

Gareth Murray scored from downtown seven seconds into the fourth quarter, putting Glasgow back into a commanding nine-point lead.  Wilcher and Payne responded for the Raiders with vital scores before Hassan took over.  

In a performance reminiscent of the Plymouth climate, Hassan proceeded to rain down points on the crumbling Rocks of Glasgow.  The Georgia native dragged the Raiders back into contention with a stunning series of rebounds and two-point drives that closed the gap to just one point and forced the Rocks head coach into an urgent time-out. 

If the timeout was called in order to halt Plymouth’s surge, it did not work.  The three-pronged attack of Wilcher, Nicholas and Hassan proved to be irresistible for the Raiders and they proceeded to rampage their way to a five-point lead for the first time in the game.

With 2:16 left in the fourth, the irrepressible duo of Ndiaye and Carpenter showed their respective quality with driving lay-ups that brought the score to a tantalising 68-69 in favour of the Raiders.  Wilcher replied with two high-pressure free throws before Hassan added two from the field after a crucial steal.  Pryor responded for the Rocks with a stunning three, which cut the lead to one point yet again. 

Desperate to reclaim the lead, Rocks committed back-to-back personal fouls, which handed the Raiders the chance to complete their incredible comeback.  Wilcher and Ubiaro held their nerve to go 4-4 from the free throw line and cement a stunning 72-77 win for the Plymouth Raiders. 

Hassan was surely the mvp as he finished with 27 points and eight rebounds.  Wilcher and Nicholas were also instrumental for the Raiders, posting impressive stats for both assists and rebounds.  Individual statistics are essential to a team’s overall success of course but this victory should serve as a testament to the hard work of each and every member of the Raiders team and coaching staff.  

The next Raiders home game is against the Manchester Giants on November 11th.  Get your tickets now at https://www.plymouthraiders.com/tickets/. 

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Josh Lines