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Love takes heart from Raiders' reaction

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 13, 2012

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Head coach Gavin Love was frustrated but "absolutely encouraged" by Plymouth Raiders' up-and-down weekend on the road.

The Raiders routed Durham Wildcats by 45 points – 113-68 – on Sunday to go 5-2 in the BBL Championship behind 8-1 joint-leaders Leicester Riders, who are sharing the summit with Newcastle Eagles.

They had fallen 83-80 at Leicester the previous night, when they had a depleted six-man rotation against a ten-strong Riders roster.

Raiders had starter Michael Ojo serving a one-game ban and Anthony Rowe out with an ankle sprain. Love said: "We've got to be encouraged. We've gone to Leicester with six guys and lost by three.

"It was a massive opportunity missed – it could have been an amazing weekend for us – but I'm absolutely encouraged. The guys were bitterly disappointed after Saturday.

"You could tell guys were ticked off. Whoever we played would have borne the brunt of that," he added.

"We're definitely getting better and to rout Durham, who aren't a bad team, by 45 points at this level is pretty impressive.

"Our defence led to our offence," the head coach said. "We forced 18 turnovers and ran. Everyone contributed. We did a good job. It was a great way to finish the weekend."

Sunday's success did a lot to make up for Saturday's setback in the East Midlands. Looking back at the loss to Leicester, Love said: "We made some mistakes which cost us, but, if we had had another pair of legs, we would have won that game, no question.

"It was tough to swallow, but I was proud of how hard we played on Saturday. We played really well, but we just had no legs in the last three or four minutes."

The Raiders, whose next Championship fixtures are at home to Glasgow Rocks on Saturday and then London Lions on Sunday, are fifth in the league, four points adrift of the Riders and the Eagles.

Newcastle beat Manchester Giants 96-76 last Friday in their only fixture of the weekend, and Leicester's 81-74 loss at Surrey Heat on Sunday left the Eagles and the Riders level on points.

Newcastle player-coach Fab Flournoy will be bringing his team to Plymouth for a BBL Cup semi-final tie on November 25 and then a league fixture on December 9. He said: "We have a spare week next week, so we will use it to rest up a little. After that it's four consecutive double-header weekends before Christmas and some long trips, so we have to make sure we are ready to attack those games."

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