Bunyan and Malcolm’s Glasgow Rocks take Eagles to the limit
A number of former Falkirk Fury stars were in action at the weekend for their pro British basketball sides, including Jonny Bunyan and Fraser Malcolm, as Glasgow Rocks were seconds from a major upset.
Bunyan hit a tough three to put the Emirates side 83-80 ahead as they entered the final minute.
Commentators on the BBL had speculated how the Rocks, after the departure several weeks ago of their two American players, over Visa issues, would stand no chance in their remaining season games without the talented duo.
However, Gareth Murray's side have gone the opposite way, in being very competitive. In the first of their two weekend games, against Manchester Giants, the Scots side shook the English play-off-contenders by leading 50-47 at the half.
The Giants recovered to take the win, with Bunyan hitting 18 points on a 66 per cent shooting average and Malcolm grabbing 17 points, with the Falkirk duo sharing six assists.
Malcolm had joined Bunyan in the starting line-up against the Giants and that continued for the team's Sunday match up against the title-chasing Newcastle Eagles.
The Eagles have almost dominated the BBL in the past 10 seasons and currently boast arguably the league's most talented guard partnership, in multi-MVP American Ramon Fletcher and fellow US player Cortez Edwards.
This game had everything, and nothing was more stunning than the second period, which saw the Rocks win by a huge 32-16 scoreline. Bunyan, Malcolm and former St Mirren Scots guard Fergus Harte played for all of that period.
Harte, who has barely played any minutes this season, was a revelation, with outstanding play that netted him a fantastic 11 points in just over eight minutes.
With Bunyan and Malcolm also at the top of their game, the three combined with an inspired French pair of David Mpondo and Mark Kwedi to stun the Eagles and lead 47-44 after being 13 points down at the end of the first quarter.
The Rocks continued to stay in the game and led going into that final minute but, with 45 seconds on the clock and a Rocks possession, a series of disputed plays saw the Eagles go to the line to win the game.
The last shot of the match – a long-range three from Bunyan that just rimmed out – saw his Eagles defender blatantly shout in his face. No technical was called, unlike the one on Murray seconds before, as he protested on a disputed play which had sent the Eagles to the line.
However, what cannot be taken away from the Rocks was the fact they stood toe-to-toe with a strong Eagles side, with GB international player/coach Gareth Murray, not playing himself but doing a great job coaching, three Scots and an inspired non-US player team which simply played their hearts out. This really this was a 'win' in any Rocks fan’s view.
Bunyan finished on 13 points, Malcom on 10 and both Falkirk players played the whole game bar two minutes.
Jenna Beattie and Eabha Kerr, former Fury stars, found themselves in a winning Caledonia Pride team against Cardiff Met Archers.
In a closely-contested game in Edinburgh, Pride took the win in the final minutes, edging their Welsh opponents 73-68. Beattie played down the stretch and, once again, was composed and strong on defence, with Kerr getting 13 minutes, two points, and again contributing well at both ends of the floor.