Plymouth Raiders exited the BBL Trophy on Friday night following a disappointing loss at home to the Glasgow Rocks. The Rocks, who also knock out the Raiders of the BBL Cup at the same stage this season, were looking to bounce back following a mixed weekend last week. Following an emphatic win over Leicester Riders on Friday night, the team would have been disappointed with their performance in the final of the BBL Cup against the London Lions resulting in a 68 – 54 defeat. The Raiders were returning to their home court following four away games. Victories against Newcastle and Sheffield were split by defeats at Cheshire and Leicester, and the team were looking forward to get back in front of their home fans.
Raiders started the game with the same five that started against Sheffield last week. Big man Zak Wells was still missing following an injury he picked up in Cheshire a couple of weeks back, and his loss could be clearly seen with the Rocks able to get some easy baskets inside early on in the game. An early 6 – 12 lead saw the visitor’s edge in front but Raiders responded with a 9 – 2 run to lead with 4:01 remaining. Five quick points from the Rocks with a little over a minute to go saw them again go in front by six, before Rashad Hassan completed the scoring for the quarter with the Raiders trailing 22 – 26.
A 9 – 2 burst for the Rocks at the start of the second period opened their lead up to double digits, before Raiders responded with six points from Josh Palmer and two from Denzel Ubiaro to reduce the gap to three. Both sides traded baskets before another 9 – 2 run for the visitors to close the quarter saw them hold a ten point, 36 – 46 lead at half time.
The third period saw the Raiders close the gap to six at one point, but the Rocks continued to hit their shots and for the majority of the quarter, held their double digit lead. Again the Rocks pushed to close out the quarter strong and led by 14, 51 – 65 with ten minutes to play. That lead ballooned to 21 points early on in the fourth, causing coach Paul James to call a timeout. Three easy baskets around the hoop for the Rocks out of the time out saw them hold their biggest lead of the night at 27 half way through the quarter killing the game. Raiders reduced it to 21 in the last minute of the game but it was the Rocks who took the victory with a 66 – 90 win. They will now progress to the semi-finals were they will face London City Royals.
In a disappointing game for the home side, there were very little individual highlights. Donte Nicholas continued his run of double-doubles picking up 16 points and 10 rebounds but other than that, there was only Ubiaro with 13 points and Hassan on 12. In contrast the Rocks had four players scoring in double figures and a further 30 points being shared between six other players.
Raiders need a quick pick up as they travel to Surrey Scorchers on Sunday (15:00 tip) before returning to the Plymouth Pavilions next weekend (Sunday 10th February) when the host Leicester Riders. Tickets for the game can be bought online from https://www.theticketstore.co.uk.