Basketball: Bucks lift Bears to top spot

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WORTHING Bears moved to first place in the First Division of the Carlsberg League without playing on Thursday night, and two wins this weekend will strengthen their claims on the championship.

Thames Valley Tigers slipped to second place after their astonishing 77-74 defeat at Derby Bucks and tonight face equally awkward customers in Leicester City Riders.

Worthing are guaranteed a capacity crowd for tonight's game with the defending champions, Guildford Kings, who are fourth. Then, tomorrow, the Bears visit third-placed London Towers.

Derby, ninth and struggling to reach the quarter-finals of the play-offs, trailed Tigers 28-14 but were handed a passport back into the game when Tigers moved in to a zone defence.

Derby's perimeter game clicked and three-pointers from Tim Lascelles, who finished with 23 points, the American, Lester Hood, and the England fringe player, Kurt Samuels, sent them in 39-33 down at the interval.

Despite Hood fouling out with more than seven minutes to play, another three-pointer from Lascelles gave Derby a 65-61 lead and then a third from the long-serving Buck put them 71-68 ahead.

Derby moved into the final minute leading 75-72. Paul James cut their lead to a single point but after the same player was called for a travelling violation with seven seconds to go, Michael Obaseki was left with no option but to foul Samuels and he clinched the victory from the free-throw line.