Leicester Riders cup dreams ended on a night when they just couldn’t get the ball to drop. Riders were beaten 83-71 in the second leg of their Semi-Final by Worcester Wolves, enough to give the visitors a nine-point aggregate victory.
Leicester’s three-point shooting was good enough, but around the basket they came up empty too many times and their free throw shooting was uncharacteristically poor leaving them chasing the game for the whole of the second half.
Things started well enough, Darien Nelson-Henry converting inside and Namon Wright outside as Riders edged the first five minutes 14-10. Wright, Ky Cartwright and Andy Thomson all hit long range efforts as Leicester scored ten points in a row to lead 24-12.
But it was short lived as Worcester poured in the last eight points of the first quarter and the first five of the second to lead 25-24.
Jordan Williams was causing Leicester all sorts of problems inside, whilst Cortez Edwards was pulling the string as the Wolves scored another eleven unanswered points to lead 43-31. Worcester were getting to the foul line and converting their free throws, whilst Riders were doing neither.
A three-pointer from Jamell Anderson and then one on the half-time buzzer from Cartwright pulled Leicester back into it at only 41-46, a two-point aggregate deficit.
Whilst the first half was a struggle, the third quarter was even worse, nothing would drop for the Riders. It took over five minutes for them to score their first field goal of the second half and scored only six points in the period, missing a hatful of makeable shots, as Worcester pulled out to a 63-47 lead.
Their advantage peaked at 19 off the back of a couple of three-pointers from Mark Hughes in the fourth quarter and whilst Riders did attempt to get back into it, they just couldn’t score quickly enough to really threaten the lead.
Riders missed ten foul shots, enough to have won the game on aggregate, and nobody shot more than 50% from the floor on a night to forget shooting wise.
Riders: Wright 17, Cartwright 14, Thomson 13, Ward-Hibbert 11, Nelson-Henry 8, Anderson 5, Chuku 3, Lascelles, Roberts, Dieterich, Jimenez, Scott.
Wolves: Williams 18, Edwards 17, Hughes 15, Williams 12, Josephs 8, Bouwknecht 7, May-Thompson 6, Van Sauers, Ramdsdale-Owen, Mcgregor, Johnson-Thompson, Kitenge.
The Riders next home game sees them take on the Worcester Wolves once again, however this time in the BBL Championship as they look to get back to winning ways. CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets.