Plymouth Raiders guard Donald Robinson Rocks his former club
Glasgow Rocks 73 Plymouth Raiders 89
DONALD ROBINSON top scored as Plymouth University Raiders served notice of their growing confidence with an emphatic victory at highly-rated Glasgow Rocks on Sunday.
Guard Robinson led all scorers with 30 points against his former club, ably-assisted by Shane Walker and Matt Pressey, who contributed 19 and 14 points, respectively, to visiting Raiders’ 16-point winning margin.
Former Raider, Chez Marks jointly top scored for the hosts at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena, who had led by two points at the half-way mark.
Coach Jay Marriott admitted last week’s over-time victory over BBL powerhouse and Raiders hoodoo side over the years – Newcastle Eagles – had given the city outfit ‘a heap more self-belief’.
Marriott’s men have now gone 2-2 in the BBL, and Glasgow are also all square on 1-1, but the Raiders chief said: “We aren’t getting carried away as we know the jury’s still out on our new style of play.”
Plymothian Marriott, who succeeded ousted coach Gavin Love just a week before the season started, found himself making a tough decision ahead of the Glasgow trip in releasing centre Andreas Schreiber by mutual consent.
Marriott said Schreiber had been struggling to come to terms with his and assistant coach David ‘Doc’ Brock’s new pacier style of play.
However, Marriott said Schreiber accepted the decision ‘like the gentleman he is’, but added: “I agonised for days, as I really do like Andreas.”
Marriott said: “Right now, I’m the happiest of men, as my side has won a second successive match and shown mental strength against a very good Glasgow team.
“Every one of my players contributed and, hopefully, the continuity we showed against Newcastle in our previous game shone through.
“Credit, too, must go to Doc’s (Brock) preparation, as because of that we did our homework on Glasgow and we knew their game-plan well.
“I wish things could have been different with Andreas, but our system didn’t suit him, but it was still a massively difficult decision to let him leave, as he’s a fantastic player.
“However, now the decision (to release Schreiber) has been taken, it has allowed the other players to step up.
“I was immensely proud of my team as I knew Rocks would be tough – all (Glasgow coach) Sterling Davis’ teams are competitive and so we knew it would be a battle, but we were ready.”
Marriot kept to the same starting five which tipped off against Newcastle at the Plymouth Pavilions last weekend.
Robinson and Pressey were the guard pair in the back court, with Trevor Setty on the wing and Ben Eaves and Shane Walker inside.
The first quarter started with both sides sparring and testing each other with Raiders and Glasgow tied at 21-21 at the end of 10 tough opening minutes.
The second period followed in much the same pattern with the lead being changed, tied up and then changing hands again until finally at half-time Glasgow had a two-point advantage at 41-39.
However, Raiders rapidly moved ahead of their hosts in the third quarter with Marriott admitting: “I think we shocked Rocks at how mentally strong we were and how we kept faith with our game-plan and our youth and pace did the rest.”
Pressey’s 2/2 from the free-throw line put Raiders in front by two points – 43-41– early in the third period before a dunk from Williams stretched the visitors’ lead to four points.
Robinson took one from two on the free-throw line keeping his side in front after Rocks had rallied, before guard Gabriele Haskins scored a two to put Raiders seven in front midway through the penultimate phase at 53-46.
Raiders went 14 points – 58-68 up in third, with the veteran Glasgow side struggling to keep pace with Marriott’s more youthful team.
Raiders stretched that advantage to 19 points as the third quarter ended with Plymouth taking the frame 29-13 and with a second, successive victory just 10 minutes away and so it proved to be.
Marriott added: “We showed our mental strength in that second half and showed we have an offence that has a future in it.
“The guys got to grips with the plan and stuck with it, even though until the third quarter, it had been nip and tuck with Glasgow.
“I don’t think Rocks, who many people believe will be top side this season and I won’t argue with them, were prepared or able to keep pace with us.
“And that’s no reflection on them at all, but that’s all credit to us.”