Basketball: Miserable start continues for Bullets and Riders

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The Independent Online

Birmingham Bullets and Leicester Riders continued their dismal starts to the British Basketball League season by suffering their fourth defeats of the new campaign last night.

Bullets lost 102-93 at Newcastle Eagles, where the home side pulled away with a 10-0 run to lead 49-35 in the second quarter. Charles Smith and Mo Robinson jointly led Eagles scorers with 23 points. DeRon Rutledge led Bullets with 35, but 13 of those came in a futile fourth-quarter revival.

Riders' challenge was over in the first quarter at Milton Keynes where the Lions took control with runs of 10-0 and 16-4 in the first quarter to lead 32-14. The Lions' Joel Burns hit eight three-pointers.

It is good luck for Omar Sneed and Tony Kitt that they were the last two Americans through the locker-room door at Crystal Palace this week, as their arrival at London Towers means the new coach, Robbie Peers, has used his entire allocation of work permits only two weeks into the season.

Snead and Kitt replace Sterling Davis and John Wharton, who were dispensed with earlier this week after Towers extended their losing start to three games, one short of their worst-ever opening sequence. Peers said of Kitt and Snead: "They are two strong players with good experience from playing in European leagues. I think they will suit the BBL well."

Peers is used to winning after taking Chester Jets to six titles in five years, but he said much the same after signing Maurice Newby then ditched him two games later. He also used work permits on Ed Gray and Brenton Birmingham, who did not survive the close season.

Snead and Kitt could hardly face a tougher debut tonight than at home to the unbeaten Brighton Bears, the joint BBL leaders with Sheffield Sharks.