by Vlad Ionasc
Cheshire Phoenix will aim to sweep the season series against the Sheffield Sharks when they’ll meet Atiba Lyons’ team for the final time in the regular season later this evening.
The Nix have already obtained a couple of double-digit victories against the Sharks on neutral ground and on the road.
The Sharks (10-8) sit in 5th place in the BBL Championship, while the Nix (9-9) are currently 6th.
Date: Sunday 7th March, 2021
Tip-off: 5 p.m.
Competition: BBL Championship
How to watch: BBL Player
The BBL Player is the new one-stop-shop for all BBL action as you can watch every club and every game (excluding Bristol’s home games) live and on-demand for £19.99 per month. Alternatively, single-game passes are priced at £4.99.
Because of how the BBL is structured, all the money from the BBL Player goes directly to the clubs, so make sure to select the Cheshire Phoenix as your ‘club to support’ when registering, as all the revenue will help carry the club through this incredibly difficult period of financial insecurity.
SHARKS SCOUTING REPORT
The Sharks have obtained 12 wins and suffered 13 defeats this season (all competitions).
Lyons’ men have a negative 5-6 record on the road (all competitions).
Sheffield recovered from the 57-67 defeat against the Phoenix with back-to-back victories over the Manchester Giants and London Lions, however they dropped their last game against the Worcester Wolves, 72-88.
Sheffield’s offense (81.1 points-per-game) ranks fifth in the BBL, while their defence (76.4 points allowed per game) trails only the Plymouth Raiders (74.9 points allowed per game).
The Sharks are shooting 46.8% from the field, 35.8% from three-point distance and 68.7% from the line.
The visitors average just 10.9 turnovers per night (second lowest behind Phoenix’s 10.1), however they’re dead last in rebounding, with 32.6 boards per game.
Nicholas Lewis missed the game on the 21st of February, however he is expected to be part of Sheffield’s rotation today. The Canadian guard is averaging 10.6 points and 2.6 assists on 38% shooting from deep this season.
Jeremy Hemsley leads his team in points (17.8), assists (3.4), steals (2.1) and three-point shooting (49.2%).
Antwon Lillard ranks first in rebounds (7.2) and second in points (15) and assists (2.9). The 6-foot-5 forward ranks 7th in the BBL in fouls drawn per game (3.4).
Bennett Koch has the third highest field-goal percentage in the BBL (62.8%).
The Sharks have lost four of the last five meetings against the Nix.
Sheffield Sharks: Antwon Lillard — The American small-forward was rewarded with the Molten Player of the Month for his excellent performances during the month of February. Lillard averaged 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists per contest, whilst shooting 56% from the field and 34% from three-point range. In the last meeting between the two sides, Lillard racked up 18 points, 12 rebounds, and three assists on 50% shooting from the floor and zero turnovers.
Cheshire Phoenix: Jalen Hayes — Cheshire’s skipper achieved the 1,000 points in the BBL (all competitions) milestone in the last encounter against the Sharks. Hayes tallied 14 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks in that game and finished with a +9 plus/minus. The 6-foot-7 forward has been on a tear recently, as he’s notched five consecutive double-doubles in the BBL Championship.
Ben Thomas: “After a great win on Friday, we really need to build on that with another today!
“Sheffield are a tough team and after beating them twice this season we know they will be coming here very motivated to not let that happen again.
“We will need another team performance and a full 40 minutes of hard work and effort to get the result we need!”
NEXT HOME GAME
The Nix will be back in action at the EPSV on Sunday 14 of March, against the Manchester Giants in the BBL Championship. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m.