Barnett's belief in Raiders is unbroken
Javarris Barnett says UCP Marjon Plymouth Raiders' strong away form still gives them hope in the BBL Cup semi-finals.
Cup holders Newcastle Eagles battered Raiders by 17 points, 107-90, in last Sunday's first leg at Plymouth Pavilions and host Friday's decisive second leg on Tyneside.
It could have been worse. The Eagles led by as many as 23 points, 98-75, with four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter last weekend.
Barnett, the Raiders' rookie forward, said: "It will be a tough environment at Newcastle but, if we stay together and play hard, we can do it.
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"We've been playing better on the road this season. We feel more comfortable there and we have nothing to lose on Friday," he added
Centre Matt Schneck said: "For some reason, we've been playing tougher on the road this season. I don't know why that is. But it was disappointing on Sunday. We have to play tougher on Friday and see what we can get out of it.
"We have to look to take Newcastle's three-point shot away and play with the energy we had in Sunday's first half."
Barnett has overcome a lack of early-season form, in his first year out of university, and has earned a reintroduction to Raiders' starting line-up in the last three games. The American said: "We came out with passion [last Sunday], but we were down by ten points at half-time. We tried to weather the storm in the second half because Newcastle were making a lot of shots.
"It was just one of those games. Newcastle have some great shooters and everything they threw up at the basket went in."
The University of Charlotte graduate from North Carolina added: "This is my first year in the league and I was looking forward to seeing what Newcastle could do. Now I've seen it, I think we need to pressure their shooters more and try and take them out of their comfort zone. They got into a good comfort zone on Sunday.
"We've got four quarters to cut the deficit. We'll go up there thinking we can do it. It can be done, whatever anyone else says. We just need to fight."
Barnett is averaging 10.2 points and 6.5 rebounds in 29 minutes per game through Raiders' first ten league games this season. After an indifferent start, he has imposed himself much better in games.
Barnett said: "I struggled for the first few games this season, but I'm getting my shots up now and being more confident. Confidence is everything – knowing I can play the way I can play in this league. I'm just trying to be consistent now."