PLYMOUTH University Raiders brought the feel-good factor back to the Pavilions on Saturday night with a crucial league win over BBL play-off rivals Glasgow Rocks.
The convincing 13-point victory snapped a three-game losing streak, Raiders’ longest of the season, and improved their record to 11-10 in seventh spot in the standings.
Rocks, meanwhile, slide to 8-13 in ninth position, outside the top eight who make the end of season play-offs.
Raiders trailed by five points, 62-57 in a largely nip-and-tuck first three quarters before piecing together a decisive 21-5 run to go up by 11 for good, 78-67 inside the final three minutes.
Guard Matt Pressey and big-man Chris Hines fuelled the surge with 10 of the first 11 points.
Pressey sparked it with a jump-shot from the foul line on Hines’ pass before Hines scored inside against Rocks’ Daniel Northern to cut the gap to one, 62-61.
Pressey intelligently drove to the Rocks basket and converted at the rim to put Raiders 63-62 up, for the first time since late in the second quarter.
Pressey added a jump-shot from the right elbow before Hines hit a jump-shot from further out on the right to push Raiders’ lead to six, 68-62.
Raiders point-guard Gabe Haskins was handed a rare start by coach Jay Marriott and repaid him with a most valuable player performance, scoring 18 points on a sweet 7/11 shooting and completing a team-high six assists.
Haskins stroked home a three from the left wing to swell Raiders’ lead to 10, 77-67 before fellow guard Donald Robinson smoothly buried a three from the left wing to build the biggest lead of the night and make it 83-68.
Hines said: “It was a nailbiter for the first three quarters. Glasgow were battling; we were battling.
“Coach said coming into the game that was how it was going to be, so we had to keep it going for 40 minutes and just take it one quarter at a time.
“We had a huge fourth quarter and we’re just thankful for that and glad to get that win.”
Rocks entered Saturday’s contest coming off a tough, 89-82 defeat at leaders Worcester Wolves in the league on Friday night.
Marriott knew the importance of Saturday's result and the gap it creates in the middle of the standings, in the hunt for the final play-off places.
He said on Saturday night: “The defeat puts Glasgow in a pretty difficult position now and we talked about that beforehand. It was a must-win for us.
“We have a tough schedule coming up and we have to be realistic with that schedule and just keep building.”