Leicester Riders split the weekend’s fixtures on the road, falling to the Royals before bouncing back to take victory on the road in Surrey over the Scorchers.
London City Royals 77 v Leicester Riders 74
BBL Championship – Friday 23 March
Leicester looked the more likely winners for most of the game but were unable to score consistently enough down the stretch and managed only 11 points in the final quarter.
The first 12 minutes were an exercise in trading scores as neither team managed to open a two-shot lead. The first meaningful run came in second quarter when Riders strung together seven consecutive points to lead 33-27.
Two three-pointers from Conner Washington and one on the buzzer from Harrison Gamble sent Riders into half time with a 44-35 lead.
With both Tim Williams and Pierre Hampton in foul trouble early in the second half, Riders were a bit thin on the ground inside, but they were still able to keep the Royals at arms’ length for third quarter and when they scored the last four points of the period they held a 63-53 advantage.
Riders had only three points to show for the first five minutes of the fourth quarter as London closed the gap to one point, but Hampton and Brandon Clark appeared to steady the ship to make it 71-65 with three minutes to play.
A couple of costly turnovers by the Riders saw the Royals bag seven in a row to lead 75-71. A three with 12 seconds to go from Clark made it 75-74, but AJ Roberts re-established a three-point cushion from the foul line.
Riders had a chance to tie in the dying seconds but it was not to be for the visiting side as the Royals secure the victory.
Royals: Hamilton 23, Bryan-Amaning 19, Jackman 11, Roberts 8, Neighbour 6, Dusha 4, Toluwase 4, Lucas 2, Dang Akodo, Rogers, Ohuaregbe.
Riders: Clark 17, Washington 11, Holder 9, Anderson 8, Hampton 8, Williams 7, Thomson 7, Ward-Hibbert 4, Gamble 3, Lascelles, Douse.
Surrey Scorchers 80 v Leicester Riders 84
BBL Championship – Sunday 24 March
Leicester Riders bounced back to winning ways, but not before surviving a second half comeback by Surrey Scorchers. Riders ran out 84-80 victors, but were pushed all the way by the Scorchers who had trailed by 14 points at half time.
Riders had made a perfect start to the game, triples from Conner Washington, Jamell Anderson and JR Holder were followed by six points from Tim Williams as they led by 11 points after only six minutes.
With the home side struggling to score, Riders poured in another six without reply early in the second quarter and in under thirteen minutes Leicester had opened an 18-point lead. Morakinyo Williams and captain Tayo Ogedengbe pulled the Scorchers back into the game as they combined to trim the deficit to 33-42.
But Riders scored the last five points of the first half and went into the half seemingly in cruise control leading 47-33. It was Surrey who came out of the break on fire though, a spell of 13 unanswered points, led by seven from Quincy Taylor, had them into their first lead of the game at 54-52.
Long range efforts from Josh Ward-Hibbert and Brandon Clark settled the Riders and moved them five points clear once again. The pair combined to make it 69-62 as Leicester again looked like pulling away, but Surrey hit back again with two three-pointers to spark a 10-0 run and suddenly they regained the lead once more.
Andy Thomson levelled matters at the mid-point of the final period and he and Tim Williams kept Riders marginally in front heading into the final two minutes.
Taylor tied the game for the Scorchers, before Clark responded with a drive of his own to make it 82-80 with a minute to go. Riders were able to keep the Scorchers out and ran enough time off the clock to ensure Thomson’s two free throws with seven seconds remaining were able to seal the win.
Williams (17 points, 14 rebounds) and Thomson (14 points and 11 rebounds) both posted double-doubles, whilst Brandon Clark added 17 points and 7 assists.
Scorchers: Taylor 20, Ogedengbe 18, Williams 12, Wellian 12, Mvuezolo 9, Atwood 5, Elechi 4, Raftopoulos, Sylest, Nanton-Hamel.
Riders: Williams 17, Clark 17, Thomson 14, Holder 12, Hampton 9, Anderson 6, Ward-Hibbert 5, Washington 4, Gamble, Lascelles, Douse.
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.