It was a challenging weekend for the Riders as they faced their third weekend on the bounce with back to back games. This time they faced the Cheshire Phoenix at the Morningside arena before travelling to face the Glasgow Rocks on Sunday evening.
Leicester Riders 64 v Cheshire Phoenix 79
BBL Championship – Friday 30 March
Leicester Riders scoring struggles on the offensive end continued as they were beaten 79-64 by Cheshire Phoenix at Morningside Arena on Friday night.
Riders made a third of their shots and despite some intense third quarter defence giving them renewed hope in the closing stages, they were just unable to overcome the Phoenix.
Leicester’s only lead of the game came after a 7-0 run put them 12-11 in front, but Momcilo Latinovic led the ‘Nix to twelve of the next thirteen points and a 23-13 lead. Riders replied with another seven in a row, but the momentum swung back the way of the visitors with nine unanswered points to lead 32-20.
Riders scored 27 first half points and trailed by twelve at half-time, but it was the Phoenix who started the second half brighter, bagging eleven of the first 14 third quarter points to stretch their lead to 50-30.
Brandon Clark was the Riders main scoring threat for the Riders however the game looked over at 55-33 with only 14 minutes left. But Riders gambled on an aggressive full court press which reaped huge rewards. Cheshire managed only one shot attempt in the next three minutes, turning the ball over seven times, as Riders sensationally posted 15 unanswered points to cut the gap to 55-48.
Cheshire were visibly rocking, but giant centre CJ Gettys steadied the ship in the fourth quarter and pushed them nine clear. Clark’s three-pointers twice cut the gap to five, but every time they had an opportunity to get closer, Riders were unable to grab it and in the last 90 seconds Cheshire ran up the score to claim a vital win in their play-off hopes.
Clark finished with 25 points including four three-pointers, but Riders had a tough night scoring the ball shooting 34% from the floor on the night.
Head Coach Rob Paternostro thought that the Phoenix deserved the Victory. “Give Cheshire credit, they deserved to win. I thought there was a stretch in the 3rdwhere we got back into the game but they placed really well, Coach Thomas had them ready to go.”
Riders: Clark 25, Holder 10, Hampton 6, Williams 6, Washington 5, Thomson 4, Ward-Hibbert 4, Anderson 2, Douse 2, Gamble, Lascelles.
Phoenix: Gettys 19, Latinovic 18, Norl 12, Sayers 10, Allen-Jordan 9, Hayes 7, Murtagh 2, Rolls-Tyson 2, Lufadeju.
Glasgow Rocks 89 v Leicester Riders 77
BBL Championship – Sunday 1stApril
Leicester Riders have slipped to third in the BBL Championship, after a pair of defeats at the weekend. After suffering a home defeat against Cheshire Phoenix on Friday night, the Riders found the Glasgow Rocks a tough nut to crack again, going down to a 89-77 defeat on Sunday afternoon, as the Rocks continued their best ever home run, with 8 consecutive home victories, to take them fourth in the table.
Against the Rocks, Riders Head Coach Rob Paternostro shook up the starting line-up, bringing in Brandon Clark and Keifer Douse, and their sputtering offence responded, with a J R Holder three pointer, and some driving layups from Clark helping Riders to an early 9-5 lead.
Tim Williams was having his way inside and Riders kept in front 15-10 midway through the opening period. But American shooting guard Kenny Carpenter started to heat up for the Rocks knocking down a three, and at the end of the first period Riders just had the edge 25-23.
Josh Ward-Hibbert came off the bench to hit a three early in the second but that was quickly erased by another Carpenter three, and Carpenter continued to torch the Riders defence with a late burst giving the Rocks a 56-50 lead at half-time.
The Rocks came out the stronger after the break, a Greg Pryor three taking the lead out to 62-50. Riders Pierre Hampton got untracked with a hook shot and a driving layup to cut the lead to 63-54. But Tadus Rinkunas was proving a nuisance on the boards for the home side, and his work on the boards helped Rocks to a 70-60 lead with ten minutes left.
Riders threatened a comeback briefly in the fourth period, an Andy Thomson three cutting the lead to 8 with nearly six minutes left, and it was again an 8 point deficit with 2 minutes left, courtesy of a Clark three. But Riders long range shooting was just not good enough and the Rocks captain Kieron Achara, in this final season before retirement, made scoring difficult close to the basket, and Riders came up short again.
It was another tough night on the offensive end for the Riders, hitting just 45% from the floor, and 6 of 16 from beyond the arc, while also missing 8 free throws.
Rocks: Carpenter 23, Achara 12, Fraser 11, Pryor 11, Rinkunas 11, Zeigler 7, Bunyan 6, Murray 6, Ndiaye 2, Geddes, Hendry
Riders: Williams 20, Clark 18, Holder 14, Hampton 10, Thomson 7, Anderson 4, Ward-Hibbert 3, Washington 1,Douse, Gamble, Lascelles.
Next Home Game
The Leicester Riders face the London City Royals on Friday April 5that the Morningside Arena in what promises to be a great battle between the 2 teams with the season Head to Head on the line. CLICK HEREto buy your tickets now!