Leicester Riders claimed a ninth win in ten games as they cruised to an 83-90 victory over Bristol Flyers to maintain the pressure on London Lions at the top of the table.
The final score made the game look closer than it was, with Riders spending much of the second half with a healthy double-figure lead, before Flyers narrowed the gap in the final minutes.
Leicester started slowly offensively, falling behind 15-9 after six minutes, but once their first set of substitutions took place, they poured in nine points in 80 seconds to lead 18-15.
Flyers cut the gap to a point early in the second quarter, but Riders were in a flow offensively and started to pull away. Back-to-back threes from JR Holder and Pierre Hampton, coupled with some great post play from Tim Williams and another triple from Conner Washington saw Riders post a 13-2 run to lead 43-29.
Andy Thomson bagged five late points as Riders became the first away team in almost two years to put 50 points on the board in a half at the WISE Arena, leading 50-37.
It didn’t get any better for the home side after the break as Washington, Holder and Jamell Anderson continued to rain in the threes and less than four minutes into the third quarter Riders were 21-points clear.
Tevin Falzon cut the arrears to 55-68, but Williams and Brandon Clark stretched it back to 17 points before the quarter was out.
Flyers did get the lead back down to eight with four minutes to play, but Washington and Clark hit the last two of Riders’ eleven three-pointers to quell any thoughts of a comeback. Bristol finished out the game with eight of the final nine points to make the score line look respectable.
With the international break now coming, Washington heads off to GB camp in great form after hitting four of his five three-point attempts for 14 points, but even that spectacular shooting display only made his one of five Riders in double-figures as they spread the scoring load.
Riders Head Coach Rob Paternostro was pleased with his teams performance.
“This was a really good road win. We had a balanced attack and contributions from a lot of different players.”
“When we came out hard at the start of the third quarter, we created some separation, and made it very difficult for Bristol when they made their inevitable fight back.”
“We always had a lot of options. Pierre Hampton was very tough and got important offensive rebounds and put backs.”
“And Brandon Clark has settled in very well and gives us something different.”
“I thought Conner Washington was also really excellent. As well as his three pointers, he was really tough defensively, putting a lot of pressure on his opponent over the full 94 feet, and Great Britain is now going to get a player very much in form. We had a lot of different contributions and mainly this was a huge team effort.”
Flyers: McCloud 23, Falzon 17, Thomas 14, Gray 13, Delpeche 8, Edozie 5, Mayindombe 3, Taylor, Champion, Nicholls.
Riders: Holder 18, Hampton 15, Clark 15, Washington 14, Williams 12, Ward-Hibbert 6, Thomson 5, Anderson 3, Douse 2, Gamble, Lascelles.