by Vlad Ionasc
Cheshire Phoenix will attempt to make it three home wins in a row when they’ll host the Plymouth Raiders at the Cheshire Oaks Arena on the 12th of January.
Phoenix’s opponents will come into the building carrying an 11-game losing streak with their last successful outing coming against the Worcester Wolves, back in October.
Cheshire have won four of their last five match-ups against the Raiders, however, Ben Thomas’ men have been inconsistent recently, as they haven’t secured back-to-back wins in any competition since their consecutive triumphs over the Giants and Riders in December.
The Nix will be without Jalen Hayes after the American picked up a nasty shoulder injury on Friday night against the Wolves. Josh Wilcher and Rashad Hassan will be absent for the visitors. The Wilcher-Hassan tandem has been a bright spark to an otherwise dark season for Plymouth so far. The duo is averaging a combined 34.3 points-per-game so coach Thomas will be pleased to know he won’t have to worry about them on Sunday night.
Despite their 14-point loss against Worcester, there were a few encouraging stats which the Nix will need to try to replicate against the Raiders. Cheshire held Worcester to just 27% shooting from three-point range and they also forced their opponents into 15 turnovers. The Nix did a good job on the offensive glass as they grabbed 13 offensive rebounds to Worcester’s 11. Disraeli Lufadeju and Michael Ochereobia found themselves in foul trouble early on, which meant that their production was stifled as they had to sit out for prolonged periods of the game. They will have to defend a little smarter on Sunday night to avoid a repeat of the situation.
The Raiders can’t pride themselves on their shooting ability as they’ve failed to hit the 50 FG% mark in any of their last five outings. The Nix will have to limit them to another poor shooting display, just like the Lions did on Friday night, in their 91-82 triumph over the Riders. On the other hand, the Nix are blessed with an abundance of elite shooters. Parker Jackson-Cartwright, Ben Mockford, Momcilo Latinovic, and Louis Sayers can all drain shots at will, however, Phoenix’s latest shooting numbers haven’t accurately reflected the abilities of their marksmen. Deplorable shooting by the Nix was one of the main factors in their defeat against the Wolves, so Cheshire will have to improve in that department in order to secure their third win in the BBL Championship.
BRING THE NOISE! GO PHOENIX!