Leicester Riders take on familiar opposition this Saturday evening (7:30pm tip-off), as Worcester Wolves make the trip to the John Sandford Sports Centre for the second time this season – the third time overall that the teams have met in all competitions this season.
Riders head into the game off the back of a win, following another impressive performance down the stretch in last weekend’s 82-71 win over Cheshire Phoenix.
“We had a couple of rookies that came up pretty big for us in Hassan and Downing,” reviewed Head Coach, Rob Paternostro.
“With Drew Sullivan, Jorge Calvo and Jay Couisnard out there, we had a lot of guys that have played in big games. I thought that we were able to see that down the stretch, with their decision making on the floor.”
American rookie Rashad Hassan led the Riders’ point scorers last Saturday night against Cheshire, sinking 20 points whilst sealing a double-double with 11 rebounds.
“He (Hassan) picked up some fouls, so we were forced to sit him on the bench a little bit, but in some ways it was good for us, as he was fresh coming down the stretch,” commented Paternostro of the Riders’ 6’8’’ forward.
“I think it will come down to who plays better on the night.” – Rob Paternostro
“Rashad is an efficient player when he gets the ball in the right spot. He went 10 for 14 on Saturday night; left hand, right hand, jump shot – the kids got a lot of talent, and what I like is that he has been able to make big plays at big times.”
Throughout the course of the opening months of the season, Rob has been full of praise for the unselfish nature of his Riders team, who once again demonstrated their team ethic in another win on their floor, maintaining their 100% home record for the season.
“We had 24 assists as a team. That’s a good amount and I thought that our ball movement was good at times,” said Rob.
“Late in the third quarter, we got a little stagnant, but down the stretch where it mattered, the ball movement was excellent. We were able to find some cracks in the defence and even though we has stretches where we couldn’t score, as the game went on we figured it out and got in some good positions.
Ahead of this weekend’s game against Worcester, the Riders can enjoy a welcome full week of preparation, whilst Paternostro has admitted that there is very little that both Leicester and Worcester will not know about each other.
“Last weekend was a tough one for us, because the weekend before was an emotional one,” he said.
“I wasn’t too concerned (about the Riders’ ability to recover) coming into the game against Cheshire, but we will get a good week of practice this week and will be ready to go on Saturday.
“It’s interesting to play a team for the third time by early November,” Rob added.
“It’s a little strange, but Worcester are a good team. They’re a team that have a lot of players who have been very effective this year. I don’t think there are any secrets between the two teams; I think it will come down to who plays better on the night.”
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