Plymouth Raiders poor run of form continued following an 86 – 82 defeat at Surrey Scorchers on Sunday.
Raiders went into the game looking to end a five-game losing streak and having lost twice to Surrey already this season, once in the BBL Cup and once in the Championship, whilst the Scorchers were on a high with wins over London and Leeds this side of the New Year.
The Raiders still missing forward Kinu Rochford through injury, started positively attacking the Surrey basket but shots did not seem to fall in the opening five minutes with only two of thirteen attempts connecting. Some strong defence meant the Scorchers couldn’t capitalise on this and it was two three point shots in the final minute that gave the home side a 24 – 18 lead. Scorchers opened the gap to 10 points in the second period forcing Coach Love to call a time out. A regroup from the Raiders reduced the gap to five at half time with the score at 47 – 42 in favour of the hosts.
Like the start of the game, Raiders came out strong at the start of the second half and ten points from Joonas Järveläinen along with six from Neil Watson reduced the gap to one, 59 – 58 with 3 minutes remaining. Baskets traded between both teams and Raiders edged ahead 63 – 64 with 10 minutes to play.
Neither team took control of the final period and with 2:22 remaining the score was tied at 79 – 79. A free throw and jump shot for the Scorchers gave them a three-point lead before a lack of concentration from the visitors allowed Surrey to steal the ball from Raiders whilst inbound the ball for an easy dunk and a 84 – 79 lead with a little over a minute to go. A time out allowed Coach Love to set up a play which resulted in Jawad Adekoya missing a three-point attempt but the ball bounced off the Scorchers returning possession to the Raiders. Neil Watson found an open Järveläinen who knocked down a three and following a couple of missed shots Raiders had an attempt to tie or win the game with the final possession of the game. Strong defence from the home team forced Raiders to shoot a three but the ball bounced off the back of the ring and into Surrey’s possession. An immediate foul from the Raiders with 0.8 seconds remaining sent the Scorchers to the line for two free throws and with both being made gave them an 86 – 82 victory and a 2 – 0 series lead over the Raiders.
Watson led the scorers for the Raiders with 18 to go along with 8 assists and was supported by Tre Bowman on 15 and debutant Will Neighbour, facing one of his former clubs on 14.
Raiders return to the Pavilions next Sunday where Glasgow Rocks are the visitors in which is the first meeting of three in four weeks for the two teams. Tickets for the game can be bought online from www.ticketstore.co.uk.Game Stats