Heat Step Towards BBL Play-offs
11 April 2012
The Guildford Heat had lost their last two games, on the road, by giving up 15-0 runs in the third quarter. Against the Plymouth Raiders, they decided to get it over early with and turned in a second quarter to forget. What had been a close game in the first quarter was blown open by the Raiders in the second. The game was tied 19-19 late in the first, but the Raiders scored the last two points and then the first eight of the second, going on to compile an 18-3 run that left the Heat in a 15 point hole.
The Heat were still down 15, 30-45, going into the second half, but, without a big deficit, there can be no stiring comeback and, as they did the last time the Raiders came to the Sports Park, the Heat turned the game around with a massive third quarter.
At first it looked as if there would be no comeback as the Raiders pushed the lead out to as many as 18. The Heat were still 15 down, 40-55, with just over five minutes to go in the third. ex-Heat guard James Jones had hit his fourth three of the game and the Heat needed inspiration. They got it from all five players on the court as Mike Martin, Frank Holmes (playing with four fouls), Drew Lasker, Martelle McLemore and Tayo Ogedengbe, who all played all 20 minutes as the second half, turned things around.
Mike started things off, putting back a miss and the Heat were underway. Tough defensive and some huge rebounding from Frank and Martelle, stopped the Raiders and as the Heat started making shots, so the Raiders transition game dried up. An 8-0 Heat run forced the Raiders to call timeout and even James Jones' only two point field goal couldn't stem the tide as the Heat poured it on, Drew Lasker tying the game at 57-57 from Tayo's feed after the Raiders had turned it over. That capped a 17-2 Heat run and even though the Heat went into the fourth two down at 59-61, the crowd was behind them and the momentum was all theirs.
The final quarter saw three lead changes and three ties as both teams fought to pull away. First blood was to the Heat with a 4-0 run to retake the lead for the first time since the first quarter. Back came the Raiders with an 8-2 run to leave the Heat down four, 65-69, with six minutes to play. The Heat pulled it back to a one-point deficit twice, getting as close as 70-71 before the Raiders pulled ahead again. With just over three minutes to go, the Heat were down five again, 72-77, before they made their decisive push,
They retook the lead on a Tayo three-point play, his free-throw making it 80-79 with under two minutes to go. He scored again to cap a 10-2 Heat run, giving them a three point lead, 82-79, with 100 seconds to go. Paul Williams scored what would be the Raiders' last points to cut the lead to one as he put back a missed three-pointer, but that was a close as the Raiders came, the Heat closing the game out behind tough defence and Drew Lasker's offence, the ex-Raider scoring the last four points of the game to make it 86-81 to the Heat.
Fittingly, Drew led all scorers with 24 points to go with eight rebounds and Tayo added 23 points and seven boards. However, the man of the moment was clearly Martelle McLemore with 20 points and 16 rebounds, 15 of those points and 11 rebounds coming in the second half. He attacked the basket, grabbing seven offensive rebounds, and kept attacking despite not getting the calls, going to the line just once in the second half. The turnaround in the Heat's fortunes was most notable at the free-throw line where they went a woeful 3-10 in the first half and 13-15 in the second.
The Raiders were led by Anthony Rowe's 19 points and seven rebounds, but only four of those points and one rebound came in the second half. James Jones had 14 points and Jeremy Bell added 12, while Paul Williams narrowly missed out on a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds. Ex-Heat centre, Tomas Janusauskas scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds, all on the offensive end as he made his presence felt.
The Heat now travel to Durham and Leicester before ending the season two weeks from today, Sunday, 22nd April, at home to the Newcastle Eagles. The game tips-off at 3 o'clock at the Surrey Sports Park and you can get your tickets on-line or by calling the Heat Box Office on 01483 689111.