Basketball: Away day specials

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The Independent Online
Birmingham Bullets, Sheffield Sharks and the London Leopards made the most of an away day to assume joint leadership of the Budweiser League on Saturday night, but the defending champions, London Towers, lurk only two points behind the leading trio with up to three games in hand.

John White totalled 74 points in two games for the Docklands-based Leopards when he scored 38 in Saturday's win at Crystal Palace, following his haul of 36 points in Thursday's 108-95 victory over Leicester City Riders. White hit 30 in the second half against Palace, where Leopards won 104- 91.

The Sharks inflicted upon Leicester their seventh defeat in eight games at the Granby Halls on Saturday, by 99-97, after the Riders' Leon McGee and Nate Reinking missed with three three-pointers in the final minute. Sheffield's Chris Finch reacted first to score off a rebound, after team- mate Roger Huggins missed a free-throw, to open a 97-95 lead. Voise Winters gave Sheffield a match-winning four-point lead from the free-throw line, before Justin Phoenix scored Riders' final basket.

The Bullets won 115-101 at Hemel Royals after the league's bottom club scored 40 points in the third quarter to trail just 77-75. Nigel Lloyd and Tony Dorsey, who scored 31 points each for the Bullets, immediately responded with a 40-0 run.

Manchester's Mike Brown scored four successive three-pointers at Bracknell but could not save the Giants from an 86-81 defeat as Thames Valley Tigers ended a run of three defeats. At Derby, Newcastle's Ralph Blalock registered on five out of six visits to the free-throw line to score the Eagles' last five points as they closed out the Storm 83-82.

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