Scorchers secured their first win of 2016 and a safe passage through the BBL Trophy First Round tie at Reading Rockets with a 72-82 triumph.
Reading Rockets 72 (14,36,52) (Edwards 22, Carter 16, Allison 8, Robinson 8)
Surrey Scorchers 82 (14,42,67) (Behrens 15, Schlitzer 13, Williams 10 )
It was a scrappy opening ten for Scorchers, with the hosts bringing the hustle with the full-court press. Wilkins settled in with two early triples as Rockets continued getting amongst the visitors, quickly racking up the team fouls.
Yet Scorchers struggled from the line, hitting just 22% as Reading continued to frustrate. As the first quarter came to a close, there was nothing between the two teams, with Rockets responding from a Schlitzer three with one of their own to level the game at 14-14 after the opening stanza.
Quarter two saw Rockets start strong and take their lead out to three with Reading’s D'Montre Edwards leading the game scoring with nine. The impressive Scorchers debutant Jordan Williams made an instant impact from the bench, going to work to convert an and-1.
With the game leveled up at 36-36, Rockets looked like taking a small lead into the half-time break. Yet Scorchers' Elvisi Dusha had other ideas, driving to the basket for 2 and 1, which he converted to push Scorchers ahead by three. With seconds on the clock, Dusha stole a sloppy Rockets pass from the line and made a huge three point buzzer beater to leave Surrey up by six, 36-42 at the half.
Scorchers came flying out the blocks in the third with Jordan Williams and Christian Behrens leading the offence and Surrey pushing their lead out to 13 with K.C. Ross-Miller checking in with back-to-back triples. With confidence flowing on court, Scorchers stretched their lead to a game high 22 points before finishing the third up by 15 at 52-67.
With a cushion going into the final ten, Scorchers continued to press ahead with Nick Schlitzer adding a further seven points to his tally. Rockets threw everything at Scorchers in the final five minutes, with a strong full court press forcing a series of sloppy Surrey turnovers to get the hosts back within eight. Yet Scorchers managed the game out to secure their first victory in six games, running out 72-82 winners and booking a place in the BBL Trophy quarter-final away at Leicester Riders, date TBC.
Next up for Scorchers is the visit of Worcester Wolves to Surrey Sports Park on Sunday 24 January. Tickets are available to buy discounted in advance online here.
Game Stats: View online here