Two days after almost pulling off a miracle to overcome Newcastle Eagles in a dramatic and stunning BBL Cup semi-final, it was back to the grind of BBL Championship action for head coach Gavin Love and his Plymouth Raiders team yesterday as they found top form in the last quarter to blow away Worcester Wolves 87-65 at Plymouth Pavilions.
Perhaps feeling weary after their trek to the north-east at the start of the weekend, the Raiders started very slowly as the Wolves scored the first ten points of the game to post a double-figure lead.
The visitors still held a healthy 18-10 advantage heading into the second quarter, when the Raiders finally began to awaken. Still 27-16 behind, the hosts finished the period with a super run as a triple by Michael Ojo helped cut the gap and make it just a one-shot game at the interval.
That gave Plymouth some momentum which they took into the third quarter as Jeremy Bell levelled the scores before Javarris Barnett drained a three-pointer to give his team the lead.
Still in front at 56-55 heading into the last quarter, the Raiders then rose to the occasion in spectacular fashion as the Wolves collapsed. The visitors simply had no answer to the hosts, who closed out the game with an 11-0 run to underline their late superiority. Barnett (24 points), Ojo (23) and Bell (17) were Plymouth's top scorers yesterday.
On Tyneside on Friday, the Eagles scraped their way into the BBL Cup final after a pulsating overtime victory in their semi-final second leg against the Raiders.
The gallant Devon team won 91-83 on the night, but that was not quite enough to overturn a 17-point deficit from the first leg. They were up 89-72 after the regulation four quarters to force overtime, though.
Plymouth's Matt Schneck, with 28 points on the night, was the second leg's top scorer. The Raiders were in the right frame of mind to overturn what was a large deficit, and they led from the outset and throughout.
Their lead began to threaten Newcastle when it became 14 points, and thereby a one possession game on aggregate, after Colin O'Reilly's three-pointer in the second quarter, during which they held the hosts to just ten points. But the Eagles steadied the ship and took an eight-point aggregate lead into the decisive quarter and a ten-point advantage into the final five minutes.
But that was blown away as the Raiders scored 20 points to end the game. They levelled it on aggregate with 1.52 to play after they scored five in a row, with Bell making four of those. The hosts responded to make it 86-72 on the night, meaning that it was still a one possession game on aggregate.
That was decisive as Bell netted a three-pointer to tie it up with 29 seconds remaining.
The Eagles showed their credentials in the overtime period and, when their backs were against the wall, they dug out a dominant spell to win 11-2 in overtime, with their defence ultimately winning the game for them.