MATCH REPORT: Rocks hopes of a Christmas win denied in first home league loss.

Glasgow Rocks 78 Sheffield Sharks 96

by Craig Anderson

Glasgow Rocks’ hopes of a Christmas win were denied as Sheffield Sharks handed them their first home defeat in five games going back to last season.

Rocks are in eighth place, with only two points on the board, but are four points from top spot following this latest loss, a 78-96 reverse in what was the first game at the Emirates Arena in the new league season.

It started well for Gareth Murray’s side with five points on the board without reply in the first couple of minutes, as Boban Jacdonmi (3) and David Mpondo (2) were the early contributors.

Sharks didn’t take long to respond when Nick Lewis, with two two-pointers and Antwon Lillard struck to quickly turn the deficit around.

Both sides exchanged points to see a 12-12 tie after seven minutes, but the visiting team soon started to build up some momentum to edge ahead by the end of the first quarter, leading 22-16.

Rocks came roaring out in the second session as Murray put five points on followed by two successful Johnny Bunyan free throws, one from Mpondo and a three-pointer by Fraser Malcolm to go 27-22 in front.

Glasgow got as many as six points ahead until Johde Campbell and Mike Tuck both converted three point jumps shots to wipe that advantage out.

Robert Marsden struck to put Sharks in front 31-33, but a big three points from Murray allowed the Rocks to re-take the lead again.

Marsden, Lillard, Jeremy Hemsley and Campbell soon got Sheffield back on track and despite the home team winning the quarter, Sharks were 37-41 ahead at half time.

It was another third quarter to forget for Glasgow when Sheffield increased their lead, as Lewis added eight points in the opening couple of minutes, aided with two points from Hemsley.

It wasn’t the collapse we’d seen in recent games from Glasgow, but Sharks made the most of their opportunities, with Nick Lewis in particular picking up 16 of Sheffield’s 30 points in this session.

Glasgow went into the fourth 19 points behind and needing a big display to keep them in the game and while, to some degree, they got that, it wasn’t enough as Sheffield pushed on.

Julius Van Sauers and Mpondo both grabbed early points to provide a glimmer a hope, but Sharks soon found their rhythm again, with Lewis in top form.

Late three pointers from Van Sauers (2) and one from Isa Brandon made the scoreline a little more respectable, but the third quarter again proved to be the Achilles heel for this team and something that will be looked at ahead of Newcastle Eagles’ visit next Sunday.