Basketball: Bears trapped in hectic spell

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The Independent Online

If the best way to prepare is to play, then Brighton Bears should be in good shape when they play the first of 10 fixtures in their FIBA Europe League group against Mons-Hainault of Belgium on Tuesday night.

If the best way to prepare is to play, then Brighton Bears should be in good shape when they play the first of 10 fixtures in their FIBA Europe League group against Mons-Hainault of Belgium on Tuesday night.

In a bout of fixture congestion that would leave Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsène Wenger apoplectic, Nick Nurse's Bears face Milton Keynes Lions at home tonight, and Chester Jets, away tomorrow, in British Basketball League fixtures.

Nurse needed to recruit fewer Americans to fit under FIBA's eligibility regulations and in the past week added the England international Steve Hansell, on a week-by-week deal, and French shooting guard Mani Laroche to his roster.

Brighton cannot allow the unbeaten London Towers, who won 98-95 in overtime at Milton Keynes on Thursday night, to open a gap at the top of the BBL, but it is hard for Nurse not to shift his focus ahead to Tuesday's visit of the Belgians.

Nurse said: "I'm not nearly as afraid of Europe this year. We will be more than capable of winning games, especially at home, and if we can claim a couple of scalps away, we could do well."

The Lions coach Nigel Lloyd remains positive despite Thursday's narrow loss. He said: "We are going to be battling all of the top teams in the league as soon as we start putting the ball in the hole."

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