Plymouth Raiders bring down Jets in front of their own fans
MARJON Plymouth Raiders enjoyed a comfortable 100-84 win over Cheshire Jets in the BBL Championship at the Pavilions last night.
Raiders ensured they scored 100 points or more in every game this season to go 3-0 in the league.
However, Raiders did not have it all their own way against a proud Jets team, who refused to fold.
Raiders led 15-4 early in the first quarter, but could not pull decisively clear of Jets, who cut the gap to as few as four points on several occasions.
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However, Jets could not get any closer and Raiders finally won it late in the third quarter and early in the fourth, with a 13-4 run, which stretched a 72-66 lead to 85-70 by the middle of the last frame.
Raiders guard Michael Ojo, at the heart of much of what coach Gavin Love's team did on offence, scored seven of the points and finished with a game-high 27.
Team-mates, guard Jeremy Bell and forward Colin O'Reilly supported Ojo well with 22 points apiece.
O'Reilly converted a lay-up at Jets' rim in full flight to make it 99-81 late in the fourth and build the evening's biggest lead of 18 points.
Raiders had not played for 12 days since their emphatic 105-74 home win over Manchester Giants.
Jets were coming off a heavy 98-59 defeat against visitors Worcester Wolves last Sunday and a week which had seen their coach James Hamilton first suspended and then resign before Chez Marks was named Jets' new caretaker player-boss.
American guard Marks, 32, played for Raiders in Love's first season in charge at the Pavilions, 2010/11.
Marks sat out last season after Raiders reluctantly but effectively released him last summer.
Raiders took control early in the first quarter with an opening 15-4 run to build an 11-point lead.
Ojo scored 10 of the points, hitting two threes from the left wing, a short jump-shot from the left and picking off a slack Jets pass on the left sideline and taking the ball all the way to an unguarded Jets basket and finishing with a one-handed slam-dunk.
You felt Jets could have been blown away at that point, but they regrouped and settled into the contest well, cutting the deficit to as few as four points at the start of the second quarter and making it 26-22 on a mid-range jump-shot from guard Gabe Haskins.
Bell took the bull by the horns and scored five straight home points to rebuild the gap to 12 points – 42-30 – in the middle of the period.
Jets rallied again with a 10-2 run, capped by a big three from veteran forward Shawn Myers, 4 but in terrific shape, to make it 46-42 close to half-time.
O'Reilly made 2/2 free-throws to extend the lead back out to 48-42 before hitting a short jump-shot from the right on the half-time buzzer to make it 50-42 at the break.
FULL REACTION FROM LAST NIGHT'S GAME IN MONDAY'S HERALD