CHESHIRE PHOENIX saw their BBL Championship play-off hopes dented as they were beaten 94-79 at Plymouth Raiders.

The Nix, who included debutant Jalen Hayes and returning centre CJ Gettys in their line-up, slipped to a 7-4 record this term as the Raiders leapfrogged them into seventh in the standings.

The visitors made a strong start to the contest, with three-pointers from Hayes and Momcilo Latinovic putting them 19-18 ahead in the first period.

But that narrow advantage was steadily eroded in the middle periods as Raiders put up 54 points to turn a slender deficit into a 17-point lead and there was no way back for Ben Thomas’ Nix side.

The Nix hit 10 threes in the contest, but struggled to limit their opponents inside as the Raiders went 29 of 43 for 67 percent shooting of their two-point field goals.

Plymouth pair Donte Nicholas and Rashad Hassan combined to devastating effect for a combined 52 points in the victory, with Nicholas also adding nine rebounds, 11 assists and seven steals in an impressive all-round display.

Despite the defeat, Nix head coach Thomas was quick to accentuate the positives and insists the club’s new recruits have strengthened their play-off prospects.

He said: “We’re disappointed not to have come away with the two points, because it was a fixture that we were confident of winning.

“But making two changes to the roster as we did in the week leading up to the game didn’t really help our preparations.

“The game got away from us at times in the second and third periods, but there were certainly positives we can take from it.

“Bringing CJ back along with Jalen will strengthen us massively going forward and we’re focused now on two massive games this weekend.”

London Lions became the first team to book their BBL Cup final spot as they beat Newcastle Eagles in the two-legged semi-final.

The Lions overturned a 75-73 deficit from Friday night’s clash in the north east with a convincing 97-85 home victory on Sunday.

Sheffield Sharks climbed to second in the Championship as they edged a 71-70 success at Leicester Riders.

The Riders bounced back with an 84-79 win at Surrey Scorchers, while Glasgow Rocks triumphed 85-77 at Manchester Giants before slipping to an 84-70 defeat at London City Royals.