Surrey Scorchers have progressed through the first round of the BBL Cup for the first time in three years after holding off a late fightback to beat Bristol Flyers 79-71, paced by a double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds from Mike Ochereobia.
Scorchers – BBL Cup winners in 2007 – have a good record in Bristol with three wins in the four meetings there, and got off to a fast start as they opened and finished the first quarter with 6-0 bursts, the latter capped by Albert Margai’s three-pointer.
That run reached 16-2 over the first quarter break as Will Neighbour, who had six points in the run, and Tayo Ogedengbe added three-pointers. And Scorchers led 45-24 at the half, after Ochereobia’s ‘and-one’ play sparked the last 10 points of the second stanza, restricting their hosts to just 25% shooting.
But Scorchers, having lost their opening three games of the season, had to withstand a nervy second half. Bristol finished the third period with a 17-5 surge, including eight for Lovell Cook who ended up leading all scorers with 29; and when he and Hameed Ali hit fourth quarter triples the game was tied at 66 and Flyers had come back from as much as 24 down.
Jay Bowie settled Surrey’s nerves with a three-pointer, and that set up a dominant finish. They held their hosts scoreless for six minutes and rattled off 13 consecutive points, Neighbour adding another three as he shot 100% from beyond the arc on the night, to secure their first win of the season.
Bristol Flyers 71 (15,24,56) (Cook 29, Ali 15, Edozie 7)
Surrey Scorchers 79 (23,45,62) (Ochereobia 18, Ogedengbe 17, Neighbour 14)