Glasgow Rocks are the Raiders BBL Cup quarterfinal opponents this Friday night at the Pavilions. The Rocks secured a first-round bye having finished fourth in last year’s BBL Championship, whilst the Raiders had to overcome the Bristol Flyers in a fiery south-west derby that ended 86-68 in Plymouth’s favour.
The Raiders are in excellent form having won their last three games in all competitions. Polished defensive performances against the Bristol Flyers (BBL Cup) and the Manchester Giants last weekend, as well as a superb comeback win in Glasgow are clear evidence of the Raiders impressive progress under head coach Paul James.
The high-press defence is now an established weapon in the Raiders growing armoury thanks to James, an armoury that is bolstered by the Pavilions crowd according to head coach.
“I keep saying we’re trying to make the Pavilions a tough place to come and play, and that’s what we’re doing. One of the things we’ve really focused on is playing good defence right from the word go, getting a lead then trying to sustain that.”
In the last meeting between the sides, Plymouth managed to overturn an 18-point deficit on their way to a memorable victory. Rocks head coach; Darryl Woods was visibly despondent after the heart-breaking loss and even went as far as to question his side’s desire and mental durability.
“We lack character. We lack leadership. We lack heart. When the going is good we look like a team that is unstoppable but the moment one thing happens, we collapse and we don’t have the characters to get ourselves out of it at the moment.”
The Raiders should expect a dangerous, motivated and much-improved Glasgow side this Friday. Bruno Ndiaye and Alasdair Fraser will provide the offensive spark for the Rocks, the duo combined for 27 points and ten rebounds in their last outing. Gareth Murray is another player the Raiders will want to keep an eye on. The instantly recognisable guard/forward leads the league in three points made with an impressive 25.
Plymouth will be entering this game with a deserved sense of confidence after a blistering 104-78 victory against the Manchester Giants. Using their high-energy, pressing defence as a launching pad for the counter-attack, the Raiders dominated on both sides of the ball and looked a class above their northern counterparts. Devontavius Payne or ‘Uno’ played the role of Jack the Giant killer as he lit up the Pavilions with a number of clutch threes that left Manchester reeling. Donte Nicholas and Josh Wilcher were consistent as always with 24 points-a-piece. It was an impressive all-round performance and Coach James was quick to praise his bench in his post-match interview. Denzel Ubiaro was one of those who made the most of his time on the court with a number of eye-catching shots from downtown that had the Pavilions crowd on its feet more than once.
It is a 7.30 tip off time this Friday and tickets are just £7.00. Support your local team as they look to reach the BBL Cup semi-finals!
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