Barnett still believes Raiders can shock Eagles in BBL Cup
JAVARRIS BARNETT says Marjon Plymouth Raiders' strong away form still gives them hope in the BBL Cup semi-finals.
Cup holders Newcastle Eagles battered Raiders by 17 points, 107-90 in Sunday's first leg at the Pavilions and host Friday's decisive second leg on Tyneside.
It could have been worse. Eagles led by as many as 23 points, 98-75 with 4:00 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The defeat drops Raiders' record to 4-3 in all competitions at home this season where they have been so dominant in two previous campaigns under their coach Gavin Love.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
On the road this season, Raiders are 4-1.
Raiders have, hugely impressively, gone 33-7 in all competitions at the Pavilions from 2010-12, but at home in 2012/13 they have lacked energy and composure.
Raiders lost their heads on offence, hastily shooting 2/8 from the three-point line after half-time against the Eagles on Sunday.
At the other end of the floor, Eagles hit 10/19 threes after the interval to overwhelm Raiders by 33 points, 51-18 in three-point points.
Raiders rookie forward Barnett, who misfired 2/10 from the floor on Sunday, said: "It will be a tough environment at Newcastle, but if we stay together and play hard, we can do it.
"We've been playing better on the road this season. We feel more comfortable there and we have nothing to lose on Friday."
Raiders centre Matt Schneck, who scored 18 points on 8/13 shooting on Sunday, said: "For some reason we've been playing tougher on the road this season. I don't know why that is.
"But it was disappointing on Sunday. We have to play tougher on Friday and see what we can get out of it.
"We have to look to take Newcastle's three-point shot away and play with the energy we had in Sunday's first half."
American Barnett has overcome a lack of early season form, in his first year out of university, and earned a reintroduction to Raiders' starting line-up in the last three games.
He said of Sunday: "We came out with passion, but we were down by 10 points at half-time.
"We tried to weather the storm in the second half because Newcastle were making a lot of shots.
"It was just one of those games. Newcastle have some great shooters and everything they threw up at the basket went in.
"We have to live with that, learn from it and, hopefully, take that into Friday."
The University of Charlotte graduate added: "This is my first year in the league and I was looking forward to seeing what Newcastle could do.
"Now I've seen it, I think we need to pressure their shooters more and try and take them out of their comfort zone. They got into a good comfort zone on Sunday.
"We've got four quarters to cut the deficit. We'll go up there thinking we can do it.
"It can be done, whatever anyone else says. We just need to fight."
Barnett is averaging 10.2 points and 6.5 rebounds in 29 minutes per game through Raiders' first 10 league games this season.
After an indifferent start, Barnett has imposed himself much better in games.
However, he has translated from being a 40 per cent three-point shooter last season in college basketball to a 30 per cent three-point shooter in the BBL.
Barnett said: "I struggled for the first few games this season, but I'm getting my shots up now and being more confident, basically.
"Confidence is everything really – knowing I can play the way I can play in this league.
"I'm just trying to be consistent now."