Matt Schneck keeps his cool to seal tense Plymouth Raiders win over Surrey Heat
MATT SCHNECK made 2/2 free-throws with 2.5 seconds left in the fourth quarter to seal jubilant Marjon Plymouth Raiders' 91-89 win over Surrey Heat at the Pavilions.
Victory lifts Raiders from fifth to third in the BBL Championship and improves their record to 15-7 ahead of Sunday's home game against defending champions Newcastle Eagles (4pm).
Heat, meanwhile, slide to 14-7, one win back.
Heat guard Albert Margai threatened to force overtime on Saturday night by hitting a huge three from the left wing over Raiders' Drew Lasker inside the final seconds to make it 89-89.
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Raiders guard Michael Ojo was alert enough to immediately counter-attack Heat and he found big-man Schneck attacking the visitors' rim from the right wing.
Heat centre Frank Holmes fouled him at the rim, but fiercely contested the decision. Heat boss Creon Raftopoulos was still livid with the three officials straight after the final buzzer and remonstrated with them angrily, drawing large boos from the home crowd as he stormed off.
Heat forward Sam Cricelli still had time to get off a half-court heave, but it rimmed out as time expired and Raiders held on.
Raiders, earlier, led by as many as 11 points, 28-17 in the first quarter after a 14-0 run before Heat hit back with a 13-3 tear, which tied it up at 52-52 in the middle of the third.
Heat then made a 14-5 run to build their biggest lead of the night and make it 66-60 late in the third.
Raiders still trailed by two, 83-81 inside the final four minutes before Ojo stepped back at the top of the perimeter and drilled a huge three over Margai to massive cheers and make it 84-83.
Ojo finished with a game-high 31 points supported by 24 points from rookie forward Javarris Barnett.
Together, Ojo and Barnett shot a blistering 11/19 threes.