Birmingham Bullets successfully focused on making up ground on the five teams above them in the Southern Conference with a 108-99 win over Milton Keynes Lions on Saturday night, despite the distraction of playing in the club's first National Cup final in 18 years on Sunday week.
The Irish international John O'Connell gave a 23 point All-Star performance, including five from six three-pointers, 10 rebounds and two steals as Bullets took control in the third quarter. A three-pointer from inside his own half by Lions' player-coach and former Bullet Nigel Lloyd cut their lead to 77-71, but O'Connell hit two consecutive threes to give Bullets a match-winning 92-79 advantage.
Rob Paternostro, Bullets' playmaker, said: "I don't think there's any real danger of us focusing so hard on the Cup final that we lose sight of what else we have to achieve.
"We have played so many games already this season, that walking onto a basketball court is second nature to us."
London Towers moved up to second in the South by beating leaders Thames Valley Tigers 95-72 at Crystal Palace, where they too took control in the third. Terrell Myers, 30 points, and John White, 21, punished Tigers from the perimeter.Reuse content