Sharks look to atone for Cup exit

Sheffield Sharks' John Barber.
Sheffield Sharks' John Barber.
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Sheffield Sharks will look to avenge their BBL Cup exit to Leicester Riders when the rivals meet in the league tomorrow night.

The Riders edged out Sheffield 62-60 in the quarter-finals earlier this month, and the Sharks subsequently fell to BBL Championship leaders Newcastle Eagles.

So Atiba Lyons’s side - without the injured Mike Cook for the last two games - return to Loughborough tonight for their third clash with Leicester this season, no doubt spurred on by the narrow nature of that reverse.

Sharks forward John Barber said: “If you look at the way we played [against Leicester], we played really hard but we just had that period, similar to the game against Newcastle, where we lapsed, and that’s the period we can’t afford.

“Teams go on runs, but we are letting that run extend too far. It just comes back to the belief that we can do it.

“We have just got to be consistent with that belief and apply it. We will have good practices and we just have to apply that in the game situations.

“We have to be consistent with our principles and just the way we play, not over-thinking, playing good basketball.

“They are similar to us, but their style is different, as far as their personnel, they have a lot of versatile players as well. They play with intensity and they do it for 40 minutes, it’s just intense the whole game.

“When you have a coach like Rob [Paternostro], you can just see it from the outside looking in, that he is really good and he rubs off on his players. They are physical and aggressive for the whole game and I think that is why they are doing so well right now.”

Riders coach Rob Paternostro is expecting another tough battle this evening.

“The first time we played Sheffield, both teams shot the ball pretty well, we shot the ball really well in the second half,” he said. “Then last time it was a game where neither team really shot it well, but both teams defended well.

“When you watch them play, you can see that they do have weapons in different areas. They have guys that are very explosive, they also have some veteran guys that understand the league so it is a nice combination he has there.”