Basketball: Sharks surge on but Tigers slip up

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SHEFFIELD SHARKS stretched their unbeaten Budweiser League start to 11 games on Saturday night with a 79-73 win over Newcastle Eagles, then cruised into the last eight of the National Cup last night by beating National League club Teeside 91-83.

But thecup holders, Thames Valley Tigers, lost ground in the league last night with a 70-69 defeat at Birmingham Bullets, after also reaching the knock-out quarter-finals 24 hours earlier by impressively sweeping aside London Towers 95-83.

Tigers obliterated London's cup hopes by outscoring them by 26 points in the first half at Bracknell, but last night ran into a three-point blitz from the Bullets. Birmingham scored 10 first-half threes for a 40- 34 interval lead and Nigel Lloyd finished with six long-range shots and Reggie Kirk with five.

Tigers still led 69-65 with three minutes to play but failed to score again as Lloyd first hit a three and then a lay-up 70 seconds from time to snatch victory.

Last season's beaten finalists, Leicester City Riders, went out 92-89 at home to Chester Jets. The quarter-final line-up is completed by Great London Leopards, Manchester Giants, Derby Storm, Newcastle and Birmingham.