TCS Chester Jets 67, Brighton Bears 117: BRIGHTON gained sweet revenge for their BBL Trophy final defeat earlier in the month by inflicting Jets' heaviest home defeat for eight years on Sunday.
Ironically, Bears' fortunes at the Northgate Arena had not been good in recent years and this success ended a losing streak in Chester going back 16 matches from February 1996, a month before the last Jets home defeat worse than this, a 126-71 drubbing by London Towers.
Jets coach Paul Smith said: 'It was always going to be tough with our injuries and this was the game we feared the final was going to be. The margin of defeat hurts, but we have championship players in our locker room with more medals than anyone else in the BBL, so, hopefully, some good might come from such a loss and spur us on.
'We can't really practice during the week as so many players are carrying knocks, but we're not looking for excuses.
'We highlighted three key points to this game, a transition defence, rebounding and being smart on the ball, but did none of these well.
'We also turned the ball over a lot and when you do that, you're not going to be successful.'
Both sides went into the contest on the back of defeats the previous evening, with Jets losing 97-89 at Thames Valley Tigers and still without Ryan Huntley.
With Bears' big men Andrew Alleyne and Kendrick Warren back to their best, the visitors went 27-17 up at the end of the first quarter and their 10-point lead stayed intact at half-time (50-40).
A downtown treble from amateur Richard Murphy was the hosts' only bright spot, and as Jets tired in the second half, Bears ran riot.
Jets have been fiercely criticised by fans of other BBL teams for putting all their eggs in one basket by using all their squad budget on recruiting five or six star names.
Although this is a policy vindicated by their record four consecutive BBL Trophy wins, the flip side of the strategy was highlighted by Bears' eight-man rotation.
As the home players tired, the Brighton players, who remained fresh, took control, leading 82-55 going into the final period.
Coach Nick Nurse had vilified his players for taking too many three-point shots against Jets in Sheffield, but his troops were on fire on this occasion, bagging a dozen three-pointers between them as the game petered out with the visitors playing exhibition stuff.
Jets' scorers: Davis (18), McCord (16), Singleton (13), Murphy and Nurse (both 9), Hamilton (2).