Preview: Riders v Giants

Following defeat on the road in Bristol last weekend the Riders will be looking to bounce back this Friday as they take on the Manchester Giants at the Morningside Arena, here’s all you need to know about the two teams.

About the Giants

Manchester Giants are looking to build for the future after a new ownership group pulled together by former player Jamie Edwards took charge a month ago.

It has been lean pickings since the Giants return to the BBL in 2012, and the new group will look to turn that around, but, with the deadline passed for player signings this season, much of the change is likely to occur in the off-season.

Current Head Coach Danny Byrne is in his third season with the club.

Mancunians Callum Jones and his brother James Jones provide experience in the backcourt, aided by Latvian sharpshooter Ingus Bankevics, Spanish forward Eduard Arques and local guard Jack Hudson. Benson Arogbo and Zak Powell provide support off the bench

Americans Jonathan Mulmore and Del’vin Dickerson have been dispensed with, replaced by Londoner Allie Fullah and Brit David Ulph.

Form Guide

Manchester has yet to win in the BBL Championship, but is showing much improved form in recent weeks. They took Plymouth Raiders to overtime in a home defeat, racked up 80 points away at Sheffield Sharks in a 92-80 loss, and then took Cheshire close last Sunday, before Phoenix prevailed at home, 99-88.

After winning 6 in a row, Riders are now on a 2 game losing streak, after going down away to London Lions and Bristol Flyers.

The teams met twice in the Group stages of the BBL Cup, Riders winning both, 96-57 in Manchester, and 102-70 at home.

Players to Watch

Captain Callum Jones pulls the strings for the Giants from the point guard position, and he had a typical display against Cheshire last time out, scoring 16 points at a highly efficient 80% shooting, as well as dishing out 2 assists in 34 minutes of play.

For Leicester, the ability to get Darien Nelson-Henry engaged in the offence is often key to their performances. He is averaging 13 points and 5 rebounds per game, and shoots over 60% from the floor.

Tickets are still available for Friday’s game, CLICK HERE to purchase yours!

Report: Riders fall to Flyers on the road

Leicester Riders slipped to a fourth league defeat of the season, going down 73-69 at Bristol Flyers. In a similar pattern to their trophy defeat in the south west, Riders had led for long periods, only for a fourth quarter rally to see the home side over the line.

Jesse Chuku hit a couple of early three pointers before Josh Ward-Hibbert scored eight consecutive points for the Riders as they opened an 18-11 lead.

Levi Bradley pulled his team back into the game, but Leicester would post eight points without reply to lead 28-17 early in the second quarter. Namon Wright’s back-to-back three-pointers kept Leicester’s lead in double figures, but Bristol were able to make inroads into the deficit just before half-time.

Corey Johnson was able to send Riders into the interval with a nine-point lead as he connected from behind the arc for the final score of the first half.

The home side then started the second half strongly to trim Riders’ advantage to only three-points as Lewis Champion got the scoreboard ticking for his team, but Ward-Hibbert and Johnson re-establish a small cushion a 52-44 with twelve minutes to go.

Early in the final quarter, Bristol posted seven points without reply to move 55-54 ahead and for the next five minutes the lead went back and forth. With 2:30 to play, Riders trailed by one-point, but Champion helped the Flyers to a 72-66 advantage.

Andy Thomson halved that with a three-pointer and though he had to more attempts to level the game from behind the arc, neither dropped and Riders slipped to a second consecutive victory against the Flyers.

Riders struggled to find consistency in their shooting and as such whilst they had four players in double-figures, their top score was only 13 from Josh Ward-Hibbert.

The Riders return Home to the Morningside Arena next Friday when they take on the Manchester Giants in the BBL Championship, CLICK HERE to get your tickets!

Three things we learnt last Weekend

Last weekend the Leicester Riders defeated the Sheffield Sharks at the Morningside Arena on Saturday Night before falling to the London Lions on the Road the next day, here’s three things we learnt across the two games.

Depth makes the difference

The Leicester Riders continued their impressive form on Saturday Evening as they took down the Sheffield Sharks 87-80 at the Morningside Arena. It was the usual controlled performance on both ends of the floor from the Riders who won each of the first three quarters giving them a 12 point lead heading in to the final period. It was the Riders strength in numbers that got them over the line, with 6 players contributing 9 or more points it the Riders versatility offensively was too much for the Sharks to handle. Kyron Cartwright and Andy Thomson led the way for the Riders contributing double doubles of 10 points and 11 assists and 12 points and 13 rebounds respectively.

Darien Nelson-Henry continues to produce

6’11 American Centre Darien Nelson-Henry has been in fine form for the Riders over recent weeks arguably playing his best basketball since joining the Riders in October. Nelson-Henry is averaging 15.4 points per game on an outstanding 68.2 percent shooting from the floor over his past 4 games which has contributed to the Riders win streak. Darien has been a major presence inside for the Riders using his back to basket playing style to outmuscle defenders on the defensive end but also clogging up the paint on defence making it tough for opponents to score around the basket.

Win Streak snapped at 6 by Lions

Prior to playing the London Lions on Sunday afternoon the Riders were firing on all cylinders on a 6 game win streak in the BBL Championship and playing their best basketball of the season. The defending BBL Champions got off to a quick start and never looked back as their hot shooting kept the Riders at arm length for a majority of the contest. The Riders now have the opportunity to bounce back on Friday Evening against the Bristol Flyers before they return to the Morningside Arena to take on the Manchester Giants on March 13th.

Tickets for the Riders v Giants clash are on sale now, CLICK HERE to purchase yours.

Report: Riders fall to Lions in the capital

Riders winning streak came to a halt on Sunday afternoon, when they suffered a defeat in London 18 hours after the Sharks win, going down to the Lions at the Copper Box 99-65. The Lions winning margin gives them the head-to-head in the series, since they lost by just 7 points in the reverse fixture at the Morningside Arena.

Riders got off to a start, going down 21-2 within the first six and a half minutes, as they struggled to get their offence going. The better rested Lions scored two early three pointers courtesy of GB point guard Justin Robinson and American forward Brandon Peel, and could hardly believe their luck as Riders struggled to get off the mark. Not even a change in personnel from the bench could stop the rot for Leicester. Kyron Cartwright finally managed to score one from beyond the arc to halt the momentum, and by the end of the first period, Riders were trailing 27-11.

Things started better for Riders early in the second quarter, as Namon Wright finally connected from long range, and Darien Nelson-Henry was causing problems inside for the Lions big men who were picking up fouls, and Riders closed to 32-21 with four minutes gone in the second period. By the stage London’s GB star Ovie Soko was on the bench with three fouls, and Riders were building momentum. But then some sloppy play by Riders and a long range three from Ed Lucas pulled the Lions clear again. At halftime the Lions led 46-29.

Riders needed to make an impression early in the second half if they were going to shake the Lions confidence and a score plus free throw from Nelson-Henry closed the gap a little. Jamell Anderson then hit consecutive threes to reduce the lead to 54-40 midway through the quarter, but then Lions responded with threes from Ed Lucas and the athletic Buay Tuach, and that reasserted the Lions hold on the game. With Soko starting to impose his will on the game the Lions were comfortably ahead at the third quarter break, 74-49.

Soko then immediately fouled out early in the fourth quarter and a Joe Scott  three got the Riders one the board early, but the home side were getting contributions from all over and Riders never looked like getting back into the game.

Lions: Peel 23, Tuach 19, Lucas 19, Robinson 14, Toluwase 6, Soko 4, Whelan 4, Lockhart 4 Tew 3, Ikhinmwin 2, Dang Akodo 1

Riders: Nelson-Henry 17, Spencer 11, Anderson 10, Wright 7, Ward-Hibbert 7, Cartwright 4, Chuku 4, Johnson 2, Scott 3, Lascelles, Thomson

The Riders return to action at the Morningside Arena on March 13th when they take on the Manchester Giants in the BBL Championship, CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets!

Two Game April Bundle on sale from February 28th

Tickets for our April games are now on sale. The Leicester Riders take on the Surrey Scorchers on April 3rd and the Bristol Flyers on April 8th which are their last two Home games of the BBL Championship Season, ticket links are below.

v Surrey Scorchers, April 3rd (20:00 Tip) CLICK HERE for tickets.

v Bristol Flyers, April 8th (20:00 Tip) CLICK HERE for Tickets.

Also keep your eyes out for our April Flash Sale 2 game bundle will also be available between February 28th at 9am and March 2nd at Midnight, CLICK HERE to get yours!

Preview: Riders v Sharks

This Saturday the Leicester Riders take on the Sheffield Sharks in the BBL Championship as they look to make it 6 wins on the bounce in the competition. CLICK HERE to purchase tickets!

About the Sharks

Sheffield is one of the pedigree clubs in the BBL, with a great history of regular silverware, although success has proved more elusive in recent years, as Newcastle, Leicester and, more recently, London Lions have dominated.

But they have been consistent in making the playoffs throughout the period, and are looking to build their own arena, replicating Leicester and Newcastle, to bring back their glory days. They currently play at the aging Ponds Forge Centre, but have a site set aside at the old Don Valley stadium, with their design having received planning approval.

Playing-wise, the Sharks have had the most stable line-up in the BBL this season.

Their Head coach Atiba Lyons transitioned from player to coach over the last 13 seasons with the Sharks. Canadian born captain Mike Tuck and joins Rob Marsden on the front line, as returnees, and shooting guard Nick Lewis and point guard Mackey McKnight both previously played for the club.

New boys guard Conner Cashaw, centre Bennett Koch, and forward Bouna Ndiaye have been solid throughout the season, while local guards Marko Backovic, Josh Chubb, Sam Speight and Nathaniel Montgomery, are being groomed for the future.

Form Guide

The Sharks finished the qualifying stages of the BBL Cup with a 7 and 3 record, good enough for second place in the North Group, but were hammered at home in the quarter-finals by Bristol.

They have won three of the last four in the BBL Championship, including 106-87 last time out at Manchester. Riders are on a 5 game winning streak.

The teams split a pair of matches in the BBL Cup, Riders winning convincingly at home on the opening night of the season, while the Sharks won the return leg in Sheffield. Their league match at the end of December was cancelled after ten minutes because of a slippery floor.

Players to Watch

Sheffield has no dominant player, but American guard Cashew has been quietly efficient this season. His last match against Manchester was typical – he contributed 21 points at 72% shooting from the floor, along with 8 rebounds and 3 assists, in 32 minutes of play.

Riders point guard Kyron Cartwright has been carrying injuries for months, but looked back near his best in Leicester’s last win on the road at Plymouth, where he contributed 10 points on 80% shooting, along with 6 rebounds and 11 assists.

Tickets are still available for Saturday’s game, CLICK HERE to purchase yours!