Birmingham's special defence surprises Towers

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The Independent Online
Basketball

DUNCAN HOOPER

Birmingham Bullets surprised London Towers, the Budweiser League leaders, with a special defence and a 73-72 win at Wembley Court on Friday night, but may have played their hand too soon to upset the favourites again in the National Cup semi-final between the clubs next week.

The Bullets "triangle and two" defence denied the ball to London's leading scorer Steve Bucknall and American Danny Lewis, neither of whom reached double figures, as Towers tried to survive on the jump shooting of American Tony Windless, who scored 31 points, and Andy Gardiner, with 15.

Bullets' first win in four meetings with London this season was clinched by their leading scorer Michael Payne's three pointer 14 seconds from time, which took his total to 20. The clubs play the two legs of their cup semi-final on Monday and Wednesday next week.

Birmingham followed up with a 95-88 win on Saturday over Chester Jets to climb to joint fifth in the table with Worthing Bears, 83-77 winners at fourth-placed Manchester Giants.

Gene Waldron, recalled by Leicester City Riders to replace the sacked American Chris Temming, scored 17 points as they ended a run of four league defeats by beating Newcastle Comets 82-68.

Newcastle, without their injured 6ft 10in Canadian centre, Scott Paterson, were outscored 11-0 in the last quarter to trail 79-62 for their first defeat in three games since Russ Saunders took over as the player-coach. Saunders led their scorers with 19.

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