by Vlad Ionasc
Cheshire Phoenix followed up their 26-point loss in London with a 17-point defeat at the hands of the Plymouth Raiders.
The visitors completed the clean sweep over the Nix, as they claimed their third victory of the season against Ben Thomas’ men.
The Nix trailed by as much as 26 at one point of the game and had a particularly tough time in the second quarter of the contest, as they lost the frame by 17-to-28.
The decisive quarter finished all square at 20 points apiece however by then the damage had already been done and the hosts failed to overcome Plymouth’s double-digit lead, as they dropped the game 69-to-86.
Mike McCall Jr. (18) and Matthew Bryan-Amaning (11) supplied the Nix with 29 points off the bench, however Cheshire’s captain Jalen Hayes failed to add any points on the board as he played just 8 minutes and 41 seconds.
Kahron Ross added 18 points and four assists on 8-of-14 shooting from the floor, while Kyle Carey (12) was the only other starter who finished in double-digit scoring.
Plymouth’s duo of Ashley Hamilton and Rickey McGill stole the show as they combined for 47 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.
As a team, the Raiders made 56% of their shots from the field, 55% from deep and 93% from the line while the Nix had yet another inefficient night, as they made just 36% of their shots from the floor, 16% from three-point range (missed 20 of 24 attempts) and 64% from the charity stripe.
The Nix grabbed 19 offensive rebounds, however they racked up just six second-chance points.
The hosts added six points through Ross and Carey and kept their opponents scoreless until the 7:57 mark of the first quarter, when McGill finally connected on a long two-pointer. The Raiders countered Phoenix’s bright start with a 8-0 run and took their first lead of the night at the 7:09 mark. Ross then tied the game at eight points apiece with a long two-pointer from the wing. Mike Morsell banked in a three-pointer to put his side ahead by two points with just over three minutes remaining in the first quarter. The visitors added four points and held the hosts to just two in the last three minutes and went into the second frame up 18-to-14.
The Raiders opened the second quarter with an instant 5-2 burst and forced coach Thomas into an early time-out, as the Nix found themselves down by seven with 9:14 left in the first half. The Raiders pushed their lead to double-digits after a good team play on offense was finished off by Will Neighbour with a corner three at the 7:09 mark. Jimbo Lull converted both of his shots from the stripe and reduced Plymouth’s advantage back down to single-digits on the next possession. Ross buried Phoenix’s first thee-pointer of the night at the 6:02 mark of the second quarter, however the hosts still found themselves down by 12 with five minutes remaining in the first half. Plymouth’s lead swelled up to 17 by the time the clock hit the 3-minute mark. McCall split a pair of free-throws but managed to grab the offensive rebound on his second attempt and then swished a shot at the half-time buzzer to send the Nix into the locker-room down, 31-46.
The visitors got off to a 8-2 start in the third quarter and extended their advantage to a then game-high 21 points. McCall made Phoenix’s second three-pointer of the night at the 7:17 mark and reduced the deficit to 18. Lull closed the gap to 16 with a lay-up before McGill made an outrageous three-pointer from the corner to extend Plymouth’s lead to 19. MBA trimmed the deficit to 17 with a dunk at the 5:07 mark. The two sides traded buckets in the last five minutes of the quarter, and they amassed nine points apiece, meaning that Cheshire went into the final quarter down, 49-66.
The Raiders added seven points through Hamilton and Elliot Sentance and kept the Nix scoreless until the 8:11 mark of the final frame, when McCall knocked down his second triple of the night. The hosts found themselves down by 19 at the five minute mark. Eventually the Nix reduced the gap to 17 points, however they failed to cause the visitors any real problems in the closing stages of the fixture and ultimately suffered a disappointing 69-86 defeat.