Leicester Riders spilt a pair of games at the weekend, winning a squeaker in Worcester in the first leg of the semi-final of the BBL Cup, before losing another close one, on the road at Cheshire Phoenix, in the BBL Championship.
Riders managed to keep just ahead of Worcester Wolves to take a 66-63 first leg victory. Riders were leading by 12 points heading into the closing period, but Wolves got back in the game with a 8-0 run.
Wolves piled on the pressure as the Riders made a couple of unforced errors, but a foul on Jamell Anderson allowed him to convert late free-throws and give Riders the small margin heading into their second leg on the 3rd January at the Morningside Arena.
Namon Wright led the way with 17 points, including a spell of 12 of Riders 14 points in the second quarter, which put Riders in front for good. But the Riders 17 turnovers allowed the Wolves back into the game.
The Rider also had similar struggles against Cheshire in the BBL Championship, turning the ball over 14 times. It gave the Phoenix the opportunity to come back for a 95-91 overtime victory, in spite of 22 points from Jesse Chuku and 17 assists from Kyron Cartwright.
Head Coach Rob Paternostro felt his lack of cover at point guard position is an issue that needs addressing,
“We have lost Rema Lascelles to a broken hand, and I think in games like these the lack of experienced cover showed. Kyron is playing a few too many minutes and some of the turnovers we made, especially at Cheshire, were fatigue related.”
“Our defence was good in both games, but we have to look after the ball better.
“We still hung in there and should have closed out the Cheshire game better, but there are some lessons learned.”
“It will be good again to get a short break because some guys are banged up, and we need to get everyone fit.”
Riders now have a break until after Christmas, with their next action on Friday week, December 27th at the Morningside Arena against the Glasgow Rocks in the BBL Championship. Riders and the Rocks played twice in the group stages of the BBL Cup with Riders winning both games comfortably, CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets!