Basketball: James aids Tigers escape

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The Independent Online
THAMES VALLEY Tigers returned to Derby Bucks, the scene of last month's defeat which could have cost them the Carlsberg League title, and escaped with a 74-67 win on Saturday night.

Derby, anxious to earn a place in the quarter-finals of the play- off's raced to a 10-1 lead after just 65 seconds against the Tigers, who lost the title race initiative to Worthing Bears after two successive losses.

The American Lester James, who scored 25 points, and Barbadian Nigel Lloyd applied power over the final minutes as Derby failed to maintain their challenge.

Worthing, with games in hand over Tigers, defeated relegation candidates Sunderland Saints 111- 88, thanks to 30 points from the American Cleave Lewis. London Towers consolidated their grip on third place with a 100-85 win over Leicester City Riders.

A familiar second-half collapse by Leicester cost them a 56-46 half- time lead. Joel Moore put London 63-61 ahead during a spell when they outscored Leicester 31-10.

The Riders, in ninth place and on the fringe of the play-offs, are nevertheless in danger of being drawn into the three relegation places by a resurgent Cheshire Jets. The Jets, six points behind Leicester but with three games in hand, overwhelmed Manchester in the second half to win 87-67.

The American Mike Niggli scored 13 points in the first six minutes for the bottom club, Hemel Royals, to lead Birmingham Bullets 21-10, but he scored only a further seven in the game and 24 second-half points from Tony Singleton led Bullets to a 108-85 win.