Basketball: Tuck is Fab says Flournoy as rivals meet in cup semi

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The Sharks will keep a perspective on their BBL Cup semi-final tie with Newcastle tonight at the EIS (7.30pm) no matter the result.

Played over two legs the semi-final won’t be concluded until December 13 in the north-east, which will give both sides plenty of time to brood over tonight’s match.

In the two-leg format, which is standard practice in British Basketball League semi-final ties for the Cup, BBL Trophy and Play-offs, it usually takes a lead of approaching 20 points for one team to feel like they have the tie under control.

The Eagles are the type of side who can score points in a hurry and Sharks coach Atiba Lyons is determined his players will be aware of that.

Lyons said: “They have a very strong team this year.

“Over two legs we will need to take care of the ball and limit our turnovers. Newcastle like to force you to play fast into the corners.

“Whatever the result we won’t be too high in victory or low in defeat.”

One of the most important battles will be between Sharks skipper Mike Tuck and Eagles player-coach Fab Flournoy.

The pair have a lot of mutual respect. Tuck said: “Fab’s a tough competitor. Every night he comes in to win, that’s all he cares about. These are the games I always look forward to and get up for. He’ll (Flournoy) be getting them ready against us.

“There’s a few rivalries in this league that go back a long way - before I joined the club. Newcastle and Sheffield have had some great battles.”

Flournoy added: “We as a team, and me personally, have had numerous battles with Mike Tuck over the years.

“He is a smart, talented, hardworking blue collar player and a guy you can build a team around.

“But we would never focus on just one player, Atiba is regularly playing nine guys and they are all contributing.”

Sharks, who have brought Demetrius Jemison back to the club after releasing Da’Quan Cook this week, travel to Surrey United on Sunday in the league.