Leicester Riders took another step towards the BBL Championship title after an astounding fourth quarter led them to an 88-71 defeat of Plymouth Raiders at Leicester Arena, all the more important after Esh Group Eagles Newcastle lost on Friday night.
Riders now hold a streak of 17 straight wins over Raiders, spanning four years; and it is eight years, 13 games, since they lost at home to this opposition.
The game looked as though it was going to the form book when Brandon Clark and Pierre Hampton each scored five early points as the hosts raced into a 12-3 lead, before reaching double-digits when Eric Robertson’s three-pointer made the score 28-17 in the second stanza.
But the contest was hard fought from that point, as Raiders posted an 11-2 response and got back to within one at 31-30 on Anton Gradys score.
Riders maintained their edge, until Grady scored again to cap a run of six in a row in the third period to tie the game at 51, and they were in front soon after on Daryl Corletto’s triple, taking a one-point edge into the decisive fourth quarter.
But Riders finished the game even more emphatically than they started it. The league-leaders scored the first 11 points in an 18-2 opening to the fourth, with Clark (5) and Hampton (4) sharing nine of those, before Robertson’s triple made the score 73-62 as the visitors didn’t score for four minutes.
Taylor King added consecutive baskets and Sullivan scored a three as the hosts finished comfortably. Clark led their scoring with 18 points and six assists, while King added 16 points from 66% shooting.