Basketball: Towers taken by Storm

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The Independent Online
London Towers suffered their first shock when they walked into the gym at Moorways. England's 7ft 1in centre, Ian Whyte, was on the Derby Storm bench, having signed earlier on Friday, transfer deadline day, from the Belgian club, Aalst.

The second shock soon followed. The Storm ripped into a 7-0 lead with five points, including a three-pointer from the American former Tower, Tony Windless. Towers never led, and the raucous support for Derby lifted them to an 88-82 victory.

If the hurt has been building up since Windless was dumped by Towers in the summer and replaced by James Hamilton, he released it all two minutes from time. As Hamilton shaped for a jump shot, Windless whacked the ball from his hands, back over his head and into the Towers' bench.

Derby had lost five overtime games before Jeff Jones took over as coach at the new year. "I've watched the tapes," Jones said. "It was total disarray. None of the players knew where he was supposed to be or where their team- mates were."

By contrast on Saturday night, Derby repeatedly saw out the 30-second shot clock before finding the open man to land telling blows.

"They're a great bunch and they've had to put up with a lot," Jones said. "If they get nothing else out of the season, they deserve this at least."

Towers arrived as joint League leaders, but in the context of a tight race between five clubs, to lose to a team not even sure of a play-off place is a blow.