Basketball: Bucks stopped by hungry Bears

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Kurt Samuels underlined his claim for an England debut in next month's European Championship games with 23 points for Derby Bucks at Worthing on Saturday night, but could not prevent the Bears holding on to win 94-91 in Division One of the Carlsberg League.

The fixture list gave Derby a tough start to the season with trips to the champions, Guildford Kings, and then Worthing in their first two games.

The Wolverhampton-born Samuels, who returned this season after a college career in the United States, impressed Guildford and the England coach, Kevin Cadle, when his club lost there on the first day of the season.

At Worthing, Samuels was at the heart of a second-half revival, including 10 three-pointers from the team, which brought the Bucks back to trail just 92-91 after they had been seven down at the half.

The Bears veteran player- coach, Alan Cunningham, who has won the league championship with three different clubs in each of the last six seasons, proved he is still the man to meet a crisis by scoring the last points of the game.

Guildford's American guard, Derek Thompkins, who rarely found space in the King's tied game with the French side, Limoges, in the European Clubs Championship on Wednesday night, took out his frustration on Birmingham Bullets on Saturday with 29 points in Guildford's 94-72 win.

Under the salary cap restrictions Alton Byrd and Trevor Gordon were omitted from the Guildford line-up, but it is already clear few teams in the division are equipped to deal with even a diluted Kings.

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