The Leicester Riders finish their double header weekend on the road in Sheffield to take on the Sharks as the top 2 teams in the BBL Cup North Group battle for the top spot.
About the Sharks
Sheffield is one of the most successful franchises in the BBL, although they are in something of a dry spell. Their last piece of silverware was in the 2015-16 season, when they beat Riders in the BBL Playoff Final.
Their last Cup win was in the 2010/11 season; it was the second season in a row they won the Cup.
In total, Sheffield has won the Cup six times and finished runners-up twice. Only Newcastle can match the Sharks’ number of Cup wins.
Head coach, American Atiba Lyons, played with the Sharks in the 2006/07 season, and then returned as player-coach in 2008. He has been in charge of the team since then, retiring from the playing side in 2013.
The Sharks are led by Canadian forward Mike Tuck. Tuck has been captain of the club since 2012.
British forward Rob Marsden is in his third season in Sheffield. GB under-20 International Nick Lewis and point guard Mackey McKnight are returnees. New signings include 6 ft 5 in shooting guard Conner Cashaw and 6 foot 10 inch American centre Bennett Koch. European experience comes from forward Bouna Ndiaye. Back-up comes from guards Marko Backovic, Josh Chubb and Nathaniel Montgomery.
Sheffield is the second most frugal team defensively, limiting teams to just under 70 points per game. But they are only ninth most potent offensively, averaging just under 80 points per game.
The Sharks also take care of the ball better than any other side – turning the ball over just 9 times per game.
Season So Far – Sharks
An under-strength Sheffield were heavily beaten by Riders on the opening night of the season. Since then Sharks have been a form team in the BBL, winning 6 from 7, including a pair of wins over Newcastle Eagles. The only blemish in that spell was a narrow loss away to Cheshire Phoenix, 76-72.
Season So Far – Riders
Riders started with three victories over Sheffield, Cheshire and Manchester, before coming unstuck at home to Newcastle and Cheshire. They have since then bounce back and now have an identical record to Sheffield and are on a three game win streak heading into this weekend.
Ones To Watch
Shooting guard Lewis has come out of retirement to lead the Sharks with 18.7 points and 6 rebounds per game. He shoots over 44% from the floor, and 38% from the three point line.
Riders Namon Wright is averaging 14.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game, while shooting 44% from the floor and an exceptional 46% from the three point line.
Next Home Game
The Leicester Riders begin their BBL Championship campaign at Home on December 6th, CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets!