Our weekly look ahead to the weekend’s BBL action.
Plymouth University Raiders v Cheshire Phoenix
Where and when:
Plymouth Pavilions, 4.00pm Sunday 21 February
The current incumbents of the seven and eight seeds in the BBL Championship go head-to-head on Sunday when Plymouth Raiders host Cheshire Phoenix.
Both teams go into the weekend having secured important victories against BBL Play-Off rivals last weekend.
Raiders recovered from defeat against Esh Group Eagles Newcastle to beat Surrey Scorchers while Phoenix took advantage of the short-handed Glasgow Rocks.
The Plymouth club claimed the first meeting of the season between these clubs, and with their final clash to come in March, this contest could swing the season head-to-head in Raiders’ favour.
Last time they met:
Cheshire Phoenix 80 Plymouth Raiders 86 (BBL Championship, Cheshire Oaks Arena, 29 November 2015)
- Raiders and Phoenix have split their previous four games
- Adrien Sturt needs three more rebounds to reach 1,000 in the BBL Championship
- Phoenix lead the league in three-point field goals per-game with 8.73
What they say:
Raiders forward Adrien Sturt: “The game against Cheshire is going to be extremely important. Beating Surrey [and moving to with two points of Cheshire] was a big one for us.
“Every game is going to be big now when you are pushing for the Play-Offs.
“It doesn’t always come down the head-to-head, but it’s always good to win the season series if you can as that can play a big part in where you finish and who you get in the Play-Offs.
“They’ve brought in guys and got rid of some guys since we played them last so you don’t know [what to expect] but you do know they are going to play hard and come out ready to play us.
“The main for us will be to just play our game and we can do that for forty minutes we’re hard to beat.”
Phoenix forward Jeff Dirkin: “I liked how we have looked at practice after Sunday’s win. The team is sharp and focused on preparing for our next game. As far as putting a run of wins together, we need to continue to focus on our process and our preparation. If we are diligent in our preparation and execute on the day, the results will take care of themselves. Our defence and court chemistry continue to improve, so I believe we are poised to make a run as we finish out the season.
“I am expecting to see a lot of zone defence again from Plymouth. As Glasgow saw last week, if you play us in zone for 40 minutes, it is only a matter of time before our shooters catch fire. That being said, we are emphasising getting into the heart of the zone, getting more points in the paint, and letting that open up rhythm threes for our shooters.
“Defensively I think we need to be disciplined and pressure their ball handlers to try and disrupt their offence.”
Friday 19 February 2016
CH 19:30 Esh Group Eagles Newcastle v Sheffield Sharks
CH 19:30 Leeds Force v Bristol Flyers
CH 19:30 London Lions v Glasgow Rocks
CH 19:30 Worcester Wolves v Manchester Giants
Saturday 20 February 2016
CH 19:30 Leicester Riders v Glasgow Rocks
Sunday 21 February 2016
CH 18:00 Manchester Giants v London Lions
CH 16:00 Plymouth University Raiders v Cheshire Phoenix
CH 15:00 Surrey Scorchers v Sheffield Sharks