Preview: Rocks vs Wildcats

Preview: Rocks vs Wildcats 03/03/13

The battle for BBL Championship points continues at the Emirates Arena this evening as Glasgow Rocks host Durham Wildcats.

The Rocks are still challenging for a place in the top four, and are currently fourth in the table with a 16-9 record while Wildcats are 11th in the table with eight wins from 26 games but are still in touching distance of a place in the play-offs.

The Wildcats will be looking for their first ever victory against the Rocks having lost all seven games between the teams in their two years in the BBL Championship. Two of those games took place at Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre this season, with Glasgow winning contrasting games. Sterling Davis’ side won a tight game 92-83 when they met on the opening weekend of the season before a dominant performance saw them win 99-73 a fortnight ago.

Despite that big win, Rocks’ player-coach Sterling Davis expects a difficult game against the Wildcats: “They are a very dangerous team. You have to come in to games like that ready to play defence.

“Ralph Bucci is a constant thorn for everyone. He does so many things for them on both ends of the floor. He really makes players around him better.

“When we last played them, I thought we played a very concentrated defensive game for the entire game. That was what got us through it.”

Rocks saw their seven game winning run come to an end with a 76-72 home loss against BBL Championship leaders Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders last weekend, and Davis admitted his disappointment with the defeat: “It was a battle just as I expected. I felt if we could have made two or three plays within the last two minutes we would have won the game. Credit to Leicester though and the job Rob Paternostro has done there. They are a good team. Anthony Rowe really gave us some problems on the interior as well as Pavol Losonsky with his versatility.”

Wildcats’ coach Dave Elderkin clearly rates the Glasgow side highly: “Rocks were on top form when we played them two weeks ago, and it was no surprise they took Leicester close last weekend.

“Sterling was on fire in the first half and when he calmed down in the second Donald Robinson kept up the pressure. We are certainly getting familiar with the play of the teams at the top – Eagles, Rocks, Raiders, Wolves all in February, and it’s back to the Rocks for the first game in March.

“The results haven’t gone our way but the team stayed positive throughout the month and is slowly building its identity and becoming harder ‘to beat’, a vital step on the way to building a winning programme.

“We played Plymouth on the road on Friday, and home to Wolves on Sunday, a difficult ask, yes, but we have to handle what the schedule gives us. It was extremely tough to keep up the level of play in the second game but, apart from a spell in the third, we did, and that’s what we have to learn to do and be resilient during these spells.

“We started the season with a new team. We needed time to figure things out, by January we felt we were playing good basketball. Our goal remains to make the play offs, we don’t earmark particular games, we take it one game at a time and now we just have to keep on pushing to the point where close losses become wins.

“Looking ahead we’ll remember Glasgow sprinted out of the blocks and we were caught cold. We learnt two or three important lessons from our last encounter with the Rocks which we must put into practice this Sunday. We expect to be without Keith Page, the physios feel he needs another week of treatment before he steps onto the practice court.”

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