Basketball: Eagles loss will light fire under Sharks claims captain Tuck

Mike Tuck in action during Sunday's victory over Birmingham Knights. Pic: Dean Woolley.
Mike Tuck in action during Sunday's victory over Birmingham Knights. Pic: Dean Woolley.

Sharks captain Mike Tuck is hoping his team can put behind them the disappointment of losing in the BBL Cup semi-finals last Friday.

Sheffield were soundly beaten by Newcastle Eagles 84-57 in the north-east as they crashed out of the BBL Cup 163-139 on aggregate.

And although Sharks bounced back on Sunday with a 93-75 victory against Birmingham Knights on Sunday to go back to the top of the BBL Championship, Tuck believes the pain of the Eagles defeat could be the spark they need to strive for success, starting against Glasgow Rocks tomorrow at the EIS (7.30pm).

“The team’s focus is now the league championship and winning games to stay at the top of the table,” said Tuck.

“The loss to Eagles is a bit of an eye-opener and will light a fire under us to prove that we are the best team in the league.”

Sheffield were blown away during the second and third quarters in Newcastle as the home side shook off injury problems to dominate the match.

On Sunday Lyons was able to use his whole squad, including Junior Sharks players Sam Thompson and Jake Wignell, in a comfortable win over the Knights at the EIS.

Point guard Nick Lewis led Sharks scoring with 17 points.

Sheffield hold the league’s best record entering the final round of matches before Christmas at 11-2 while Rocks sit at 6-7 - but Tuck isn’t about to be fooled by that.

He said: “Glasgow are a team that are probably a lot better than their record shows right now.

“Sterling (Rocks coach Sterling Davis) always seems to put together a tough, hard-working squad.

“EJ Harrison and Gareth Murray will be guys we have to watch out for. They are veterans that know the game and can shoot so we’ll have to limit their shots.

“We’ll also have to keep Daniel Northern off the boards.”

“We understood how poorly we played (in the Cup) and it is a learning experience. We didn’t execute our game plan or take care of the ball. All of which can be corrected.

“Glasgow got a good win on Sunday but almost let a big lead slip.

“Hard-working and fundamental, Sterling’s teams historically are sharp executing their offence and can spread the floor and really shoot. It will be a tough match for us.”

Davis, who enjoyed a successful spell with the Sharks between 2004-06, said: “We definitely need to work on cutting down the opposition’s runs. We work hard to build momentum but have to make sure the work does not go in vain.

“Atiba (Sharks coach Atiba Lyons) has Sheffield playing great basketball right now. They have a pretty balanced team and have proven to be a pretty good defensive team up to this point in the season. ”

Sharks finish their 2013 with another home match. London Lions visit the EIS on Friday, December 27 (7.30pm).