Basketball: Youngblood strikes late for London

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The Independent Online

Robert Youngblood's three-pointer, three seconds from time, gave London Towers a 96-94 win over Newcastle Eagles on Saturday night at Crystal Palace in the British Basketball League play-off quarter-finals to earn a semi-final against Sheffield Sharks at Birmingham's National Indoor Arena on Saturday week.

The BBL championship runners-up, Sheffield, beat Thames Valley Tigers 118-100 last night as Justin Phoenix and Rob Yanders accumulated 27 points each. Yanders added six rebounds, six assists and four steals.

In the other semi-final in Birmingham BBL champions Brighton Bears, who beat Milton Keynes Lions 91-83 on Saturday, will play Chester Jets. The Jets knocked out Scottish Rocks 86-83 last night in Glasgow.

The Newcastle player-coach, Fab Flournoy, was only seconds away from leading his club into the semi-finals when he gave the Eagles a 94-93 lead. London's intense defensive pressure denied Newcastle a shot within the regulation 24 seconds but the Eagles looked to have survived when Ricardo Greer's shot was blocked. But Youngblood inbounded the ball to Ralph Blalock who returned the pass for the 6ft 8in forward to launch his game-winning three-pointer.

Brighton opened the second half 10-0 against Lions, who never pulled the deficit back into single figures. The Bears' scoring was led by Jason Siemon with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

In the English Basketball League, National Cup and First Division title-holders Plymouth Raiders reached their play-off final with a 96-82 win over Worthing Thunder.