Basketball: Triumphant Bears rue Duck's injury

By Richard Taylor
Monday 06 January 2003 01:00

Brighton Bears shrugged off the loss of injured playmaker Randy Duck to defeat London Towers 86-74 on Saturday night, but the American's absence could be more costly on Sunday when they face holders Chester Jets in the National Cup Final at Birmingham's National Indoor Arena.

Brighton's victory closed the gap on the leaders, Sheffield Sharks, who lost 76-67 at Scottish Rocks, but the Bears coach, Nick Nurse, revealed Duck will be out for a month with a hernia injury.

Wilbur Johnson, with 26 points, led the scorers for Brighton who took control with a 25-14 third quarter to lead 72-59.

The third quarter was also decisive at the Braeside Arena as the Rocks opened a 59-51 lead over Sheffield, who are two wins ahead of Brighton but from three more games. Rocks' Ted Berry led the scoring with 28 points.

Chester also closed the gap on Sheffield with a 117-97 win at Leicester Riders to inflict their fifteenth consecutive defeat and pile more problems on the coach, Billy Mims.

Malcolm Leak missed the game with back spasms and his fellow-American Eric Burks has quit to cash in his British passport for a more lucrative contract on the continent. Antoine Sims, one of six Americans Mims recruited this season, could also be leaving.

Leicester dropped to last place in the table, replacing Birmingham Bullets who defeated Essex Leopards 88-83 as Rob Paternostro celebrated his return to the club by controlling the crucial last minute after Leopards hit a 9-0 run to trail just 82-78.

Paternostro, last season's BBL's assists leader, scored six of Bullets last eight including the drive to the basket which clinched the win.

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