Basketball: Sharks continue run but Bears are still on scent

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The Independent Online

The BBL champions and leaders, Sheffield Sharks, romped to their 14th straight win on Saturday, beating Thames Valley Tigers 102-72, but are still unable to shake off the second-placed Brighton Bears, who overcame third-placed Chester Jets 100-79 to underline the fact that the top pair are proving a class above the rest of the competition.

The BBL champions and leaders, Sheffield Sharks, romped to their 14th straight win on Saturday, beating Thames Valley Tigers 102-72, but are still unable to shake off the second-placed Brighton Bears, who overcame third-placed Chester Jets 100-79 to underline the fact that the top pair are proving a class above the rest of the competition.

Jets were without the American Calvin Davis but the coach, Paul Smith, like his predecessor, Robbie Peers, spurns bringing his English contingent off the bench and he used just five players for the entire game.

Bears, with their coach, Nick Nurse, back on the sidelines after a month recovering from exhaustion, opened up a 61-36 lead on a 13-0 run which was started and completed by Michael Brown's three-pointers.

But Bears are six points behind Sharks with only two games in hand, and the leaders produced a fine display at Bracknell, scoring all 23 free throws and 15 out of 24 three-pointers.

At least the six clubs beneath Sheffield and Brighton are guaranteed places in the play-off quarter-finals because the ninth and 10th-placed teams, Birmingham Bullets and Leicester Riders, are woefully weak.

Riders at least made history on Saturday night with their first win in Birmingham in 17 years of the BBL by beating Bullets 94-91 in overtime after trailing 81-77 with 70 seconds of regulation time remaining. The hapless Bullets also led 89-84 with 100 seconds of overtime left but threw it away.

In England Basketball's first division, Plymouth Raiders moved closer to the title with a 110-79 victory over Solent Stars.

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