Glasgow Rocks who were already guaranteed fifth place in the BBL Championship, and having won three of their last four games came to the Tigers lair, on the back of our back to back wins and form that had produced 4 wins from 5 games.
The Tigers were buoyed going into the last fixture of the 2011/12 season and with recent success, including away wins against Sharks Sheffield, Durham Wildcats, BBl leaders Newcastle Eagles and a home win against MK Lions the confidence was good.
The squad including BBL Team of the Week (weeks 28,25 and 21) choice Sam Cricelli were hungry and from the off the Tigers dominated, showing the recent form that had earned them some much needed points.
The Tigers opened the scoring with Aliu, a former Rock, hitting a three-pointer and a Devan Bailey 'and-one' play making the score 6-1; but the Rocks chasing managed to tie the game at 8 as Davis scored 5 points. The Tigers responded with a 9-3 burst of our own with Matt Otten and Aliu - with another two triples - sharing the points as the Tigers took a 17-11 lead. Despite the Rocks using a 7-0 burst to get to within two points, the Tigers held their lead at 27-24 after the opening ten minutes.
The Tigers pushed on in the second period as a 10-3 burst, including another 6 for Otten, saw the lead reach to 43-31 with under three minutes to play in the half. However, as with the first quarter, the Rocks rallied again and although displayed a strong finish to narrow the gap to 46-41 with Murray hitting 8 straight points, including two three-pointers, in the final 1.25, they couldn’t toppled the mighty Tigers who were continuing to lead and dominate the tempo.
A slow and guarded start to the second half saw the teams share a meagre 4 points in the opening three minutes but the Rocks broke the deadlock and came to life midway through the period with 5 straight points from EJ Harrison making it a one possession game at 52-50 to the Tigers. That provided a hint as to what would come as the teams remained close, the Rocks never quite managing to tie the game despite getting as close as one point before trailing 59-57 heading into the decisive final ten minutes.
BBL leaders Rocks having trailed the entire fixture eventually got on level terms in the fourth quarter with the first basket of the period, from Danny Huffor, making the score 59-59.
Huffor continued and gave the Rocks their first lead of the game when he made a pair of free-throws for a score of 65-66 before a couple of quick lead changes as the teams became tied for only the second time of the fixture at 70 a piece with just 4.18 to play, where upon the Tigers called timeout.
After the timeout, Aliu’s three-pointer edged the Tigers back in front and they valiantly held on to the lead until the Rock’s Harrison made 4 straight points for a score of 76-77 with now just 1.34 to play.
Tigers steadfast Bailey made another ‘and-one’ play for a two-point Tigers lead with just with 36 seconds of play remaining when Murray for the Rocks levelled things up at 79.
In a frantic 30 seconds of play the score remained locked even at 79 a piece until EJ Harrison was fouled with 11 seconds left. The tension was palpable, with the players and crowd alike sensing this would be the second to last play of the night.
Harrison in making the two free-throws taking it 79-81 left the Tigers little chance to tie and with Bailey’s last-second shot which sadly he missed and Aliu’s rebound only for him to fail to convert also saw the fixture end with a bitterly disappointing loss for the Tigers versus a strong team that they had lead all night.
For the Tigers, it was our first loss in three games and just the second defeat in six games that saw David Aliu lead all scorers with 23 points.