GAME REPORT: Rocks manage a semi on Valentines day

Report: Cheshire Phoenix 62 Glasgow Rocks 67

By Craig Anderson

A huge second half performance from Glasgow Rocks saw them brush off Cheshire Phoenix and claim a place in the last four of the BBL Trophy.

A trip to either Newcastle Eagles or London Lions await for Gareth Murray’s men, once those two play their tie, but Rocks can at least enjoy the feeling of victory again, their first on the road in two months.

The first quarter saw both teams trading points in the early stages, as Christian Keeling, Murray and Julius Van Sauers all found the basket to put Rocks 7-10 ahead just after the halfway mark.

Three pointers from Keeling and Fraser Malcolm stretched the gap to seven points as Glasgow made the most of their opportunities.

Phoenix began to claw their back and notched eight points without reply to edge them narrowly in front, thanks to Jimbo Lull (6) and Kahron Ross (2).

David Mpondo made the most of two free throws after a foul, but Lull responded with a two-point dunk almost immediately before Matthew Bryan-Amaning gave Cheshire a three-point lead at the conclusion of the first quarter.

The second session saw another low scoring one for the Rocks, although Malcolm’s lay up for two points brought them a little closer.

By the midway point, Phoenix moved seven points clear as Ross’ jump shot then a hook shot from Lull gave them a cushion, with the quarter ending with four more from Ross to make it 36-26 in the home side’s favour.

It needed some strong words from Murray, presumably, at half time to rouse his troops as another game threatened to drift away from the players.

He got the reaction he was looking for as four points by Ronald Delph followed by a Keeling three points pulled the Rocks to within three of their hosts.

More from those two and coach Murray saw the game tied at 41-41, with further contributions from Jonny Bunyan and Van Sauers pushed the Rocks into a five point lead.

Mike McCall and Lull pulled Cheshire to within one as the seconds ticked down, but Delph’s timely three point shot jump put Rocks four ahead with one quarter to play.

Glasgow needed a big mentality to get through the final ten minutes, to not only stay ahead, but go on to claim the win and although a hookshot from Lull was an early shot across the bow, the Scots stood firm.

Keeling, Bunyan and Delph were getting some joy around the paint, with Murray and Kwedi contributing to put Rocks 52-63 in front – an 11 point advantage with just over five minutes to go.

Cheshire started to find a way in as Kyle Carey (4), Ross (3) and McCall with a free throw evaporated that strong lead into a slim one, with the game in the final minute.

It was a nervy end to the game, which only subsided when Delph added two points, with two free shots by Murray both finding their way and allowing the team to celebrate a big victory.

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