Basketball: Sharks' title hopes ruined by Wedel

CRYSTAL PALACE turned the Budweiser league title race on its head last night with a 92-91 win at Sheffield Arena which virtually put the Sharks out of the hunt.

While Birmingham Bullets were scrambling to an 82-77 victory at Leicester City Riders to keep the pressure on the leaders, Greater London Leopards, Palace's Brad Wedel made a three-point play nine seconds from time to snatch victory. The Sharks had led 90-84 with 34 seconds to play but a basket from Wedel and a three-pointer from Andy Powlesland pulled Palace back. The England international John Amaechi missed two free throws for Sheffield with 11 seconds left before Palace broke away for Wedel to score and earn the bonus shot for being fouled.

The Leopards play London Towers tomorrow night encouraged by yet another defeat for their great rivals, who lost 90-80 last night to Newcastle Eagles.

Bullets took 20 minutes to wake up at Leicester, but Tony Dorsey scored their first seven points of the second half to spark a 17-4 run to give them a 54-45 lead. Riders' American guard, Geno Ford, capped a 13-4 run with his four three-pointer to tie the scores on 60-60 and then a Mark Hawley free throw had Leicester trailing just 75-74 with 90 seconds to play. But Riders failed to score again until Ford's last-shot three-pointer, by which time Dorsey and Nigel Lloyd had assured Birmingham victory from the free throw line.

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