The Riders were resolute in the fourth quarter to overcome the Cheshire Jets 80-72, inflicting a first game defeat on their visitors. Zaire Taylor led the Riders with 21 points, while Pavol Lovonsky scored 19 and John Fraley had a double-double of 16 points and 14 rebounds.
Leicester dominated much of the first half as Taylor’s three-pointer and Losonsky’s ‘and-one’ play made the score 12-6 and an 11-0 run to close the first quarter, capped by Barry Lamble’s old-fashioned three-point play and Jay Couisnard’s dunk, put the Riders up 23-9, with the Jets registering just one three-pointer in a six minute spell.
They asserted their dominance with a 14-1 surge in the second period to take a huge 40-14 lead; that run included another Taylor three-pointer and was rounded off by Losonsky who was fouled while converting at the basket, seeing the Riders sink another bonus shot. But they were pegged back towards the end of the half as the Jets scored 10 straight points, including 4 for Shawn Myers, as a sign of what would come.
The Jets carried that momentum into the third quarter as they opened up with a 10-2 push including 5 points for Kenny Moore and a triple from Marks, to make the score 49-41; the Jets outscored their hosts by 20-4 over the half time break. They finished the third quarter with a 6-2 run to make it a one possession game at 56-53 heading into the decisive fourth quarter, and then tied the game at 57 once in the fourth.
But the visitors could go no further as Jorge Calvo settled the Riders with an immediate response, another ‘and-one’ play, that was matched by Losonsky – epitomising the game – as the score became 63-57. When Taylor made a three-pointer with 6.42 remaining, for a score of 69-61, the game looked beyond the Jets, and the Riders saw their lead swell to 80-66 on another Taylor score within the last two minutes.
Elsewhere, the Worcester Wolves inflicted a first defeat of the season on the Manchester Giants, 92-80 after a dominant and decisive first half. Alex Owumi led all scorers with 25 points for the Wolves, backed up by 15 from Stanley Ocitti and 13 from Arnas Kazlauskas.
The Giants had started well until Owumi hit 5 consecutive points in the first quarter as they took their first lead of the game at 8-6, and that trend continued as they pushed on to lead 22-16 at the end of the first ten minutes, from where they would not trail.
The damage was really done in the second quarter, which the Wolves won 27-14. They went on a decisive 14-2 surge, inspired by Owumi, on the run up to half time to take a 49-30 lead into the break.
That margin was maintained in the third quarter, and the host’s lead peaked at 84-62 in the fourth quarter. The Giants did mount a valiant fight back late on, as an 8-0 run helped them to narrow the gap to 92-80 by the end of the game.
Story – BBL
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