Cheshire Phoenix 's bid to gather some traction in their bid to make the BBL play-offs at the end of the season were dealt a blow in Devon on Sunday afternoon.

The Nix failed to recover from a dreadful opening stanza against play-off rivals Plymouth University Raiders at the Pavilions, going down 100-89 despite a late rally that saw them chip the host's lead to just one point.

Daryl Corletto led his side to victory, which handed the Raiders the crucial head-to-head, with a 32-point haul, while Cory Dixon produced a stellar double-double of 26 points and 16 rebounds.

Following the mid-week departure of Josh Wilcher, young guard Dylan Costelloe was handed his first BBL Championship start and dished out all of his six assists inside the first quarter - part of Plymouth's dominant 20-6 opening.

Akeem Ellis
Akeem Ellis

Corletto led the way with 11 points in the bright start as the home side opened up a 15-point advantage at the end of the first, before continuing the second in the same manner to extend their lead to 19 at the half.

The home side continued in the same manner in the second and further extended their advantage to 19 points at the half.

The lead peaked at 22 points with Plymouth seemingly in complete control at 61-39 in the third, before Cheshire began to hit back. A 17-6 spell helped the visitors half their deficit, and would be within single figures ahead of the fourth.

David Aliu connected with back-to-back triples to make it a two-point game, and when Akeem Ellis later netted a three of his own, Cheshire were down just one at 88-87 with two minutes to play.

Kinu Rochford posted a big double-double for Cheshire Phoenix at Plymouth Raiders
Kinu Rochford posted a big double-double for Cheshire Phoenix at Plymouth Raiders

However, Plymouth held their opponents at bay, sealing the win and the head-to-head after going 8-of-10 from the line in a 12-2 close.

All five of Cheshire's starters reached double figures, led by Kinu Rochford's 23 points and 12 rebounds as they drop to 9-14 - with Plymouth joining them on the same mark.

Cheshire will be aiming to bounce back to winning ways this coming Friday when they face a trip to face another play-off rival in the form of Surrey Scorchers (7.30pm). They then head back to Cheshire the following Sunday (March 6, 5.30pm) for the reverse of what looks to be two key fixtures in determining whether the Nix make it to the BBL post-season.