Basketball: Leicester Riders back on top of league after win
Leicester Riders went joint top of the BBL Championship courtesy of a hard-fought 73-68 at London Lions.
They had to battle for the points in the second half after a huge effort by the injury-hit Lions.
The Jelson Homes DMU-backed Riders started like they meant business from the tip-off.
They overwhelmed the Lions and quickly built a 13-1 lead courtesy of two Zaire Taylor threes.
NEW LEBANESE HOME BUFFET EVERY DAY @ CEDARS LEBANESE REST £ 6.99...View details
A LA CARTE MENU ALWAYS AVAILABLE :)
Terms: Entertainment SATURDAY NIGHT Live Belly Dancer
Contact: 0116 2169184
Valid until: Monday, May 27 2013
Little did any of the travelling Riders fans know, they would be the last threes Leicester would hit until late in the fourth quarter.
Mike Martin finally got the home side going with a three-pointer four minutes into the game to stem the tide. From then on, Riders stayed in cruise control comfortably leading 25-15 at the first quarter break.
But the home side started the second period on fire with a 10- 2 run, and, in front of the Sky TV cameras, Riders looked stage-struck.
Adrien Sturt and Joel Barkers were hitting shots from long range, Riders could not buy a basket, and another Lions burst gave them their first lead of the game at 32-30 with two minutes left in the half.
Jay Couisnard managed an offensive rebound and gave Leicester a narrow 36-35 half-time lead they scarcely deserved.
Lions started the second half with a 7-0 run, capped by a Jordan Spencer three-pointer to go up 44-40, and Riders were looking rattled. Anthony Rowe steadied the ship temporarily, but then Sturt hit six points in a 10-1 Lions run, giving London their biggest lead of the game at 54-47 with a minute-and-a-half left in the third quarter.
The final period was a nail-biter, but a Drew Sullivan three-pointer sparked a 10-0 Riders run, to put them up 57-54. With five minutes left, Riders led 64-58, only for London to score the next six points, and tie the game again.
A Jorge Calvo late three-pointer brought relief to the Riders, but it took a huge block by Sullivan to finally put the Lions to bed.
It was not pretty, and coach Rob Paternostro will not be happy with the performance, but it was a win nevertheless to leave Riders in good heart for their big cup final on Sunday.