Basketball: Swanson inspires Rocks to overcome Lions

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The Independent Online

The half-time team talk by the Scottish Rocks' coach, Steve Swanson, worked wonders at Bletchley last night as his team opened the second half with a 16-2 blitz which pushed Milton Keynes Lions to a 98-72 defeat.

Swanson was given a technical foul at half-time for complaining to the officials and handed Joel Burns two free throws which gave the Lions a 41-35 interval lead. But before Lions could build on their advantage, Rocks' Phil Perre and Jerry Williams scored six points each in the 16-2 spurt which condemned Lions, in eighth place in the table, to their 15th defeat of the season. Perre, with 18, led Rocks' points-scorers ahead of 17 from Michael Martin and 14 from Williams.

Seventh-placed Newcastle Eagles also produced a big turnaround last night to beat sixth-placed Thames Valley Tigers 96-93 at the Telewest Arena after trailing 78-69 at the end of the third quarter.

Tigers failed to hit the target for the first four minutes of the fourth, as Shawn Myers led an 11-0 Eagles run to lead 80-78. Tigers came back to tie at 89-89 but two frees from Jeremy Hyatt, who scored 32 points, and a Myers basket opened a four-point lead for the home team.

Tigers' Josiah James made one of two frees before TJ Walker, playing his first game back from injury for the Eagles, did the same to keep them 94-90 ahead.

Quintin Bailey kept Tigers' hopes alive with a three-pointer eight seconds from time but Hyatt was fouled, went to the line and calmly slotted two frees to seal the win.