The Leicester Riders have another busy weekend of BBL Championship basketball ahead of them as they face their third double header weekend on the bounce. First they host the Cheshire Phoenix at the Morningside Arena on Friday night as they look to move 2-0 against the Phoenix on the season.
Following their game against the Nix the Riders head to Glasgow to face the Rocks on Sunday Evening at the Emirates Arena. The Riders will be looking to avenge their 101-81 defeat at the Rocks on January 25th.
Leicester Riders vs Cheshire Phoenix
Friday, 29th March 2019; 7:30pm – BBL Championship
About the Phoenix
The 2018 BBL Cup winners have had an up and down season so far.
They are led by one of the BBL youngest coaches Ben Thomas. It his first season with the Club he had a 50% winning record, winning 20 games and losing 20.
The squad has been tweaked through the season, with the ever-presents guard Louis Sayers, previously with Plymouth Raiders, 3 point specialist Momcilo Latinovic, previously with London Lions, Sol Rolls-Tyson, from Sheffield Sharks, American forward Dii’jon Allen-Jordan, British guard Disraeli Lufadeju, who had spells at Worcester and Leeds, and American guard Daniel Norl.
7 foot centre C J Gettys, who had a short spell in China, returned and Jalen Hayes joined from Oakland University.
The Phoenix are the best three point shooting team in the BBL at 38%, and the best overall shooters from the floor at 56%.
Since Cheshire were beaten by Riders 76-69 in early February, in their only match-up of the regular season so far, they have had a very difficult run of fixtures which included all the top sides, and have won two of four, including the notable scalp of London City Royals. Last time out they lost to Newcastle Eagles at home, 90-78.
After a hot start to 2019, Riders lost two of their last three on the road, with defeats at Manchester Giants and London City Royals. They outlasted Surrey Scorchers last time out, 84-80
Players to Watch
6 foot 6 inch Serbian sharpshooter Momcilo Latinovic is Cheshire’s top scorer at over 16 points per game, and he shoots at 48% from the three point line, fifth best in the BBL.
Riders American forward Tim Williams is the only Riders player in the top twenty scorers, averaging 16.3 points per game , fourteenth best in the BBL.
Leicester Riders at Glasgow Rocks
Sunday, 31st March 2019; 5:00pm – BBL Championship
About the Rocks
The Rocks made it through to the BBL Cup Final in January, when they were overwhelmed by London Lions, and that eventually led to the exit of Head Coach Darryl Wood.
Surprisingly the Rocks have appointed the little known Vincent Lavandier as interim Head Coach at the end of February for the remainder of the season. Lavandier, a French native, has amassed a wide array of experience having coached in the French professional leagues for many years. Although this is his first stint in the BBL, he brings a degree of familiarity, having worked with a number of the Rocks squad during his time in France.
Continuity has been key for the Rocks, built around the international Scottish contingent of Kieron Achara, Gareth Murray, Ali Fraser and Jonny Bunyan. Lithuanian international, Tadas Rinkūnas, and Norweigen International Bouna Ndiaye add European experience.
American point guard Greg Pryor is the on-court general, with compatriots Bo Zeigler and Kenny Carpenter both rookies. Youngsters Chris De Souza and Murray Hendry make up the bench.
The Rocks had a huge victory over top of the table London Lions last Sunday 76-66 for their third straight win, after two heavy losses to Newcastle Eagles on the road either side of the international break. They followed that up with an impressive win on Tuesday over London City Royals 98-81.
Riders title hopes took a knock recently when they lost two of three on their last road trip. Their only other loss in 2019 was on the road in Glasgow, where they lost heavily 101-81 in late January.
Players to Watch
The Rocks GB International Kieron Achara has announced his retirement at the end of the season, and will be looking to go out on a high, with the target now set on the playoffs. He is averaging 12 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists per game, but it is his defensive work that is most valuable to the team.
For Leicester, Swedish international Pierre Hampton has not reached the heights of previous seasons, due to persistent injuries, but is still managing 11 points, 5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 22 minutes per game. Riders need solid performances on the road from Hampton to win against an experienced club like the Rocks.
Next Home Game
The Riders next home game is against the Cheshire Phoenix on March 29th CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets and support the Riders in another exciting BBL Championship game at the Morningside Arena.