Lasker inspires Raiders to thrilling win over Durham
Plymouth Raiders…104 Durham Wildcats…100
MARJON Plymouth Raiders edged Durham Wildcats 104-100 in a tense finale in the BBL Championship at the Pavilions last night.
Wildcats led 100-96 late in the fourth quarter before Raiders guard Drew Lasker stepped up and scored six straight points to grab a 102-100 advantage with 10.9 seconds left.
Lasker made it 100-98 with an alert and athletic tip-in at the rim off Michael Ojo's failed three-point attempt from the left wing.
Lasker then tied it up at 100-100, attacking Wildcats' basket on the counter after Raiders centre Andreas Schreiber had vitally blocked Andrew Keister's effort at the other end.
Lasker put Raiders up for good and made it 102-100, hitting a short jump-shot from the right elbow. The American drove to the spot from deep on the left wing, working behind a Matt Schneck at the top of the perimeter.
Wildcats forward Brad Guinane failed to connect on a big three-point attempt from the top of the arc in the final moments.
Ojo hit 2/2 free-throws with 1.8 seconds left to seal the result.
Both Raiders and Wildcats were coming off heavy home defeats last Sunday.
Raiders also had an embarrassing 98-81 loss to Wildcats at the Pavilions a month ago playing on their minds.
Wildcats are one of five teams, tightly packed together in the bottom half of the standings vying realistically for one of only two play-off spots – seventh and eighth position – left up for grabs.
Wildcats were without starting point-guard Keith Page, who did not overcome a knee injury, suffered last Sunday, in time.
Raiders guard Rod Brown (ankle) and Lasker (knee) both overcame doubts over their fitness to play, although Brown's knock kept him out of coach Gavin Love's starting line-up.
Raiders dominated the opening minutes in the first quarter, hitting Wildcats with an 11-3 run to build a 16-8 lead.
Schreiber sparked it with a basket inside, while guard Ojo anchored it with five of the points, including a three from the left wing which made it 14-8.
Wildcats slowly worked their way back into the contest, moving the ball well on offence and moving well off it to create openings from the three-point line.
Wildcats guard Paul Elderkin made back-to-back threes from first the left wing and then the left corner to cut Raiders' lead to three points, 20-17 late in the first.
Raiders' lead was back up to five, 33-28 early in the second when Wildcats began to outplay Love's team, with more good ball movement freeing their three-point shooters.
Wildcats pieced together a 16-2 run to build a nine-point, 44-35 lead in the middle of the second.
Elderkin was at the heart of it, triggering it with a three from the right corner before capping it with another three from the left corner on Ralph Bucci's nice drive and assist.
Brown hauled Raiders back in it, driving well to Wildcats' basket and showing a good change of pace at the offensive end. The gap was down to five – 55-50 – at half-time.
Raiders got back on top early in the third, taking the lead again and making it 62-60 on 2/2 free-throws from forward Javarris Barnett.
Love's side extended their lead with a 12-4 run building a 10-point, 82-72 lead late in the third.
Raiders were forcing the issue well at the offensive end, aggressively attacking Wildcats' basket and making their opponents foul them and send them to the foul line.
Wildcats came right back into it, opening the final frame with a 13-0 run which grabbed a 90-87 lead.
Wildcats' Mark Reynolds sparked it with a three from the right wing before Guinane capped it with the last five points, including a three from the left wing with 7:00 left on the clock to set up a thrilling ending.