|Riders - Wright||16|
|Lions - Watt||13|
|Riders - Walker||8|
|Lions - Watt||9|
|Riders - Watson||5|
|Lions - Ikhinmwin||2|
|Riders - Walker||3|
|Lions - Lockhart||2|
|Riders - Wright||1|
|Lions - Watt||2|
The Leicester Riders hosted the London Lions tonight for the second leg of the BBL Cup Semi-final.
The Riders entered the game with a 12 point aggregate advantage after their first leg victory last week at the copper box. Tonight the Riders were again victorious, beating the Lions 75 65, and 152 130 on aggregate.
The game started slowly, with both teams struggling to get on the scoreboard until 3 minutes in. TrayVonn Wright finally opened up the scoring for the Riders with a mid-range jumper to get the home side rolling.
The Riders heated up offensively after Jamell Anderson knocked down a three to give them a small advantage early on. Drew Sullivan also came alive half way through the first, finishing a tough layup on the break and converting from the mid-range.
The Lions responded with offensive plays of their own, including a Nick Lewis layup, as well as a Kai Williams three, helping the visitors finish the quarter 15-16 in their favour.
The Riders struggled to convert in the beginning of the second, however, it was another story for the visitors who continued to heat up offensively and stretch the lead to 18- 28 with 5 minutes.
Tyler Bernardini’s three, followed by a 24 second clock violation for the Lions helped close the gap and provided a lift for the home team going into the final few minutes of the half.
With the gap still at 10 in the Lions favour, Wright and Conner Washington both hit huge threes to cut the deficit to 4 with 40 seconds remaining. The visitors responded with a tough finished from Demond Watt but Neil Watson was able to shoot a three on the buzzer to close the gap once more, and allow the Riders to trail 34 37 going into half time.
Tyler Bernardini came out firing, hitting from behind the arch to start the third quarter and tie the game. But Lions forward, Kai Williams answered with a three of his own to take the lead once more for the London side.
Scoring continued back and forth, both sides finding ways to respond to their opponents score on their own offensive end. With under a minute remaining in the quarter and the Riders leading 49 48, point guard Watson drew a foul and converted his free throws to stretch the lead to 3. But again Nick Lewis for the Lions responded with a layup of his own. With 15 seconds remaining, Washington was sent to the line to finish out the quarter, putting the Riders ahead 53 50 going into the forth.
Forward, Shane Walker stepped up early in the forth, converting two free throws, finishing on the break and knocking down a three to help the Riders maintain their advantage. Wright’s three pushed the home side’s lead to 63 59 half way through the forth. From this point on Riders looked very much in control stretching the lead to as much as 8.
The Lions did cut the Riders lead down to 6 with 2 minutes remaining, but the Riders kept their lead, continuing to produce efficient basketball on the offensive end. TrayVonn Wright finished the game with a dagger three, taking the score to 76 65 to the Riders.
After two solid victories, the Riders are now through to the BBL Cup Final on the 17th of January 2016 at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham. The Riders will face either the Cheshire Phoenix or the Newcastle Eagles depending on the result of their match up. Be sure to make the trip to Birmingham to support your team.
The Riders will play a final game before the New Year on the 22nd on December against the Bristol Flyers. Click here to purchase tickets early.