BASKETBALL Bristol flying again, Giants beat Raiders

London Lions extended their lead at the top of the BBL Championship yesterday while there were important wins for Bristol Flyers, Manchester Giants and Radisson RED Glasgow Rocks in the race for the Play-Offs.

The Lions defeated Surrey Scorchers 83-96 with 19 points apiece for Justin Robinson and Ladarius Tabb, while Leicester Riders fell to an 89-77 loss in Glasgow with Kenny Carpenter scoring 23 first-half points in the Rocks' victory. Ingus Bankevics fired in 29 points to lead Manchester to a 90-98 triumph at Plymouth Raiders while Bristol earned a 87-75 success on the road against Cheshire Phoenix as Justin Gray netted 20 points.

British Basketball League Championship table as of March 31

Pos   PL W L Pts
1 London Lions 25 21 4 42
2 Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 27 19 8 38
3 Leicester Riders 26 18 8 36
4 Radisson Red Glasgow Rocks 25 14 11 28
4 London City Royals 25 14 11 28
6 DBL Sharks Sheffield 27 14 13 28
7 Cheshire Phoenix 27 13 14 26
8 Manchester Giants 27 12 15 24
8 Plymouth Raiders 27 12 15 24
10 Bristol Flyers 25 11 14 22
11 Surrey Scorchers 27 5 22 10
12 Worcester Wolves 26 4 22 8
Cheshire Phoenix 75-87 Bristol Flyers (14-24, 33-43, 46-60)

Bristol Flyers claimed a first road win since November after overcoming Cheshire Phoenix away.

Andreas Kapoulas' side boost their Play-Off hopes with an 11th league win and close the gap on Cheshire, who drop to 13-14.

Leading scorers - Jalen Hayes 17, CJ Gettys/Dii'jon Allen-Jordan 16 (Phoenix) - Justin Gray 20, Fred Thomas 19, Jalan McCloud 13 (Flyers)

Turning point - The Flyers made a much stronger start than in Friday's loss in Sheffield and they opened up a commanding lead at 14-32 early in the second. Cheshire closed the gap back down to 10 at the half, and a late rally came up short as Bristol took the win.

Key stat - Bristol were efficient in the paint and shot at 60% inside the arc and out-rebounded their opponents 43-30 in the win.

Plymouth Raiders 90-98 Manchester Giants (23-27, 43-44, 64-75)

Manchester Giants avenged last week's defeat at home to Plymouth Raiders with an important victory on the road.

Danny Bryne's side had already lost the head-to-head, but pick up a vital victory with both teams now level at 12-15 ahead of the final month of the regular season.

Leading scorers - Josh Wilcher 23, Donte Nicholas 20, Rashad Hassan 18 (Raiders) - Ingus Bankevics 29, Willie Clayton 20, Mike McCall 15 (Giants)

Turning point - The Giants were ahead for the majority of the game, leading by 11 at the end of the third through McCall's buzzer beater. Plymouth put a late run together to close within four, but they fell short as Manchester took the win.

Key stat - The Giants' 3-point shooting was hot throughout the contest, boosted by Bankevics as they hit 13 of 27 to help counter giving up 22 turnovers.

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