Rocks dealt play-offs blow

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BBL Championship

Glasgow Rocks 67 (17, 31, 50) (Northern 14, Urli 14, Marcotullio 13)
Durham Wildcats 79 (21, 42, 53) (Attah 18, Ginty 16, Huffor 15)

The Rocks’ play-off hopes suffered a setback as they went down 79-67 to play-off rivals Durham Wildcats at the Emirates Arena in front of a sell-out crowd.

Both teams came into the game off the back of games against the Giants with Durham falling to defeat at the hands of Manchester on Friday, meanwhile the Rocks beat them in the league and knocked them out of the BBL Trophy last weekend.

EJ Harrison suffered a hip injury during the week which meant Johnny Bunyan had a spot in the starting five for the Rocks.

It was a sloppy start to the game from both outfits with neither being able to assert their dominance.

The first four free-throws of the quarter were missed before Chris Johnson stepped up to make one from the fifth free-throw attempt of the game.

Neither side were terrific offensively but it was Durham who took a 21-17 lead into the second period.

Luckily for the Rocks Durham’s shooting from deep was poor throughout the course of the first half as they made a mere 4/12 three-pointers.

Davis continued with his recent rotating of the team with all players having court time by midway through the second quarter.

But it took the Rocks until midway through the second to take the lead for the first time in the game as Durham reached five team fouls.

An 11-0 run to finish the quarter meant the Rocks trailed the Wildcats 42-31 at the halfway point.

Sterling noted that the Rocks had been outclassed in the first two periods, “They came out, especially in the first half, extremely hungry and we were a step and a half slow when it came to our defensive rotation.”

The home side started the third quarter much more convincingly although only nine points were scored in the first four minutes.

A 9-0 run of their own saw the Rocks cut Durham’s lead to three by the end of three at 50-53.

The Rocks closed the gap to just a single point before stuttering later in the final quarter as the Wildcats stretched their lead to nine points.

The deficit proved to be too much for the Rocks to close as the Wildcats came away with the 79-67 victory and a stronger position in the race for the play-offs.

It was a hard loss for the hosts to take which Davis emphasised after the game, “That’s definitely a tough loss for us and we’ve either got to turn things around or it could be a situation where we’re not in the play-offs. We’ve got to find a way to get good enough for the rest of the season we have left. It’s not going to be an easy task but we’ve got to do what we can and try to finish off strong.”

But the player/coach hasn’t ruled his side out yet, “I think when we play the way we’re supposed to for the entire game we can beat anybody and having a stretch of runs where we can gain some momentum as far as winning some games I think that definitely will help. We’ve just got to take it one game at a time right now and focus on trying to get wins.”

Northern led the Rocks with a double-double 14pts/11rebs, Urli also notched 14pts and Marcotullio had 13pts/5rebs/4asts.
For the Wildcats; Attah 18pts/5rebs, Ginty 16pts/6asts and Huffor 15pts/11rebs.

Next up for the Rocks is a trip to Birmingham to face the Knights before turning their attention to the BBL Trophy two-legged semi-final against Cheshire Phoenix.
Speaking of the semi-final, Davis said: “I feel that we have as good a chance as everybody else. If we’re in the competition we’ve got to make sure we’re going out there and performing the best we can and if we go out and play like we’re supposed to then anything can happen.”

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