Leicester Riders suffered a second straight defeat in the BBL Cup north group, going down 66-58 to Cheshire Phoenix to drop to 3-2 in the competition.
A rough shooting night meant Riders never had enough points on the board despite keeping Cheshire to only 66. To compound a frustrating evening, point guard Kyron Cartwright was carried off early in the second half.
The ‘Nix came out firing at the start of the game, their first five baskets were all three-pointers as they opened up a 15-9 lead. Louis Sayers hit his third and the team’s sixth long range shot as Cheshire moved nine points clear late in the first quarter.
Early in the second period, Phoenix’s lead peaked at 33-20 before Riders finally found a spell of consistent offence. Namon Wright netted from behind the arc and back-to-back big dunks from Jamell Anderson sparked a 12-0 run by Leicester which cut Cheshire’s lead to 33-32.
Three minutes into the second half though, with just three-points separating the sides, Cartwright span through the lane in transition before collapsing to the floor with an apparent knee injury. Seeing a team-mate carried off appeared to take some of the steam out of the Riders and Cheshire took full advantage to post ten of the next 14 points and re-establish a nine-point cushion.
Whilst Riders were struggling behind the arc, Phoenix hit their eighth and ninth three-pointers early in the fourth quarter to lead 57-46. Youngster Alex Roberts gave Riders a bit of momentum in the closing stages and a Wright three-pointer cut the gap to 56-60 with 100 seconds to go.
But Leicester were unable to score consistently enough to get all the way back. Riders made just four of their 23 attempts from three-point range, whilst shooting just 35% overall.
The victory reignited Cheshire’s chance of qualification from the group, whilst Riders will need to get their offence back on track if they are not to slip up in their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals
Riders: Wright 15, Anderson 11, Thomson 11, Chuku 8, Cartwright 4, Roberts 4, Ward-Hibbert 3, Talley Jr 2, Lascelles, Dieterich, Scott.
Phoenix: Mockford 20, Hayes 15, Sayers 12, Jackson-Cartwright 11, Ochereobia 6, Mcrae 2, Lufadeju, Latinovic.
The Riders return to action at the Morningside Arena on October 26th when they take on the Manchester Giants, CLICK HERE to get your tickets!