Leicester Riders extended their season’s best winning streak to six games as they saw off Worcester Wolves 85-80.
Riders trailed only once for 20 seconds, but the Wolves fought hard to the end as they tried to bag a third consecutive success under new coach Tony Garbelotto.
Six early points from Tim Williams and five from JR Holder had Leicester into a 15-7 advantage, but two three-pointers late in the first quarter and another early in the second had the home side into their one and only lead at 22-21.
Holder and Williams combined for the game’s next seven points as Riders quickly re-established a cushion. Josh Ward-Hibbert and Andy Thomson both made an impact off the bench as Riders posted more than 50 points in a half for the fifth time in eleven games to lead 51-45 at the break.
A Jamell Anderson triple at the start of the second half helped the lead move to 10 points, but the Wolves netted six in a row to cut the gap to 53-59.
With seven minutes to play the home fans were sensing a possible upset when their team were within a shot of the lead at 67-65, but Riders quickly quelled any such thoughts with fourteen unanswered points in a devastating three-minute spell.
Holder and Conner Washington both hit from behind the arc, whilst Williams and Ward-Hibbert converted three-point plays as Riders raced out to an unassailable 81-65 lead with just under four minutes to play.
A couple of late triples reignited the Wolves’ hopes with 12 points in a row, but Williams and Holder shut the door as Riders maintained their pressure on league leaders London Lions with a tenth win in eleven games since the start of 2019.
Williams and Holder led the way with 21 and 18 points, whilst there was another fine effort off the bench by Ward-Hibbert who chipped in with 13.
Head Coach Rob Paternostro believed that his Riders were deserved winners despite Worcester fighting right till the end. “I thought that we controlled the game, we led almost all the way from tip to buzzer. In the second half we had to turn it up late in the third, give Worcester credit they fought back at the end with some timely threes to make it interesting. I wouldn’t say it was a perfect game by us but we definitely did what we needed to do to get the win”
Wolves: Freeman 22, Servera 16, Prosper 12, Combs 8, Thoseby 8, Crawford 7, Whelan 7, Navajas, Johnson-Thompson.
Riders: Williams 21, Holder 18, Ward-Hibbert 13, Thomson 9, Hampton 8, Clark 6, Anderson 5, Washington 3, Douse 2, Gamble, Lascelles.