Leicester Riders Head Coach Rob Paternostro was pleased his team had learned the lessons from their earlier defeat by arch rivals Newcastle Eagles, after Riders win in Newcastle on Friday night meant they have now qualified for the BBL Cup quarterfinals, and are joint top of the Northern Group.
Riders suffocating defence held Newcastle to just 28 second half points as they turned around a 6 point half-time deficit, in the 76-69 victory.
New signing centre Darien Nelson-Henry was key to the Riders’ third consecutive victory, leading his team with 20 points and six rebounds.
Point guard Kyron Cartwright came close to picking up a triple-double with 12 points, eight rebounds and nine assists.
Namon Wright scored 19 points, on 60% shooting, while also pulling down 6 rebounds and sparked Riders second half comeback.
“We had a long look at the tape after the earlier match against the Eagles at our place, and we were not pleased.”
“We realised we were simply not physical enough.”
“At times we let them do what they want, which is not the Leicester way.”
“On Friday night we were much more physical and made everything tough for them.”
“And we stayed at it in the second half, eventually grinding them down.”
“To hold a team like Newcastle, who have a very potent offence, and like to push the ball down the floor, under 70 points is really exceptional, and I was extremely proud of the way the guys executed down the stretch.”
Riders now face a weekend double header, needing one win to clinch home advantage in the quarterfinals.
First up Glasgow Rocks come to the Morningside Arena this Friday night (7:30pm) before Riders head to the Ponds Forge to take on Sheffield Sharks on Sunday afternoon (4pm). Riders beat Glasgow away handily two weeks ago and a shorthanded Sharks in September at home. CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets for Friday’s game!