If the roasting that Glasgow Rocks coach Sterling Davis gave his players at half-time is anything to go by, then Edinburgh Kings seriously rattled their more illustrious full-time basketball opponents before going down 78-60 in the first round of the BBL Cup at Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall yesterday.
“We watched them on video beforehand but they were certainly much better than in that game,” Davis confirmed afterwards.
The final 18-point margin compared very favourably with the 44-point hiding that Kings suffered at the hands of the Rocks in their only other sortie into BBL competition in the BBL Trophy five years ago. The Scottish champions led 19-13 after the first quarter and the game had gone 12 minutes before the Rocks took the lead for the first time but they then went on an 8-0 run to lead 29-21.
Even then it was almost half-time before Mychal Green scored the home side’s first three-pointer and former Scotland captain Gareth Murray never hit one at all.
Edinburgh University vet student Michal Kirkatrick relished the contest, scoring 16 points and taking eight rebounds. “We had them scared for a while and it was a fun game – we played hard and showed we can play at this level,” he said.
Latvian forward Ed Rekis, who wanted to play for the Rocks when he came to Scotland two years ago, top-scored with 17 points.
Though going behind by 25 points after being 37-28 down at the interval, and losing the rebounds heavily 50-31, Kings kept battling and Davis was forced to use his starters far more than he would have liked with his young Falkirk guard Jonny Bunyan getting less than three minutes on court.
By contrast, his teenage rival, coach Doug Reilly’s son Lee, played the full 40 minutes.
The coach said: “It was a fantastic effort, particularly in the first half when we ran some great offensive sets. Importantly, we showed we are competitive at this level.”
EJ Harrison led the Rocks with 22, Green added 19 and Andrew Wedemire 15 and ten rebounds. Kings had warmed up for their first ever BBL Cup game by beating Aberdeen University 80-48 in the Scottish Cup second round at Portobello in a breakout game for Lithuanian Audrius Ciapas, who top-scored with 20 points as well as taking six rebounds and making a huge four blocks.
The one disappointment of the weekend was Kings’ 68-67 away defeat to Falkirk Fury in their first game in defence of the Scottish Junior Cup.