Play-off advantage rests with Sheffield Sharks ahead of second leg

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Sheffield Sharks will enjoy a welcome advantage heading into Sunday’s BBL play-off semi-final, second leg against Glasgow Rocks, after a 91-80 victory at the Emirates Arena last night.

It’s the third time this season that the Sharks have won north of the border, but a late rally ensured that the Rocks stay within striking distance of a place at the O2 Arena.

Sharks led this first encounter from early on as Jerrold Brooks – who paced all scorers on the night with 25 points – hit a long three-pointer to set the tone. Kyle Odister added another, sparking a run of eight unanswered and the lead was already in double-figures at 19-9.

Sheffield are the second best defensive team in the league, and they held their hosts to just 11 first quarter points, and scored 12 first half points from the seven turnovers that they forced.

Brandon Hogg hit a dagger three-pointer on the half time buzzer and, despite the break, the Sharks carried that momentum into the second half. A decisive 10-1 push re-established their margin, and it went through twenty at 64-44 on Mike Tuck’s basket. Brooks nailed another three-pointer to open the fourth period, and that looked to have buried the Rocks.

But they rallied in front of a raucous home crowd, as Warren Gillis made a triple and Will Hall capped a run of 11 straight points to set-up tomorrow’s second leg.