Riders book Cup Final place as Giants sweep Phoenix

BBL Cup Semi-final, Second Leg
Leceister Riders 79-74 London Lions, 178-170 agg (26-20, 52-34, 67-57)
(Riders – Jackson 15, Whelan 14, Loving 11; Lions – Reese 20, Williams 14, Cugini 13)

BBL Championship
Manchester Giants 80-76 Cheshire Phoenix (17-23, 43-40, 58-59)
(Giants – Clark 22, Armstrong 16, Artison 15; Phoenix – Wright 17, Ochereobia 16, Austin 16)

Leicester Riders booked their place in January’s BBL Cup final after a thrilling contest with London Lions, whilst fellow finalists Manchester Giants secured the season sweep over local rivals Cheshire Phoenix.

After an incredible first leg that saw an inspired London comeback, there were only three points between the two sides going into Thursday’s showdown, and the Riders started the game the brighter of the two sides. Led by Geno Crandall’s 12 assists they took a commanding lead into halftime after outscoring the Lions 26-14 in the second period.

After London’s first leg comeback, it looked as though lightning may strike twice for the Lions as they flew out the blocks in the second half, and after seven personal points from Isaiah Reece early in the third managed to close the gap to single digits.

London managed to close the gap to four points on the night however there was not enough time on the clock as Leicester held on to set up a tantalising final in Birmingham.

Crandall finished with 16 assists to go with six points whilst Reese led all scorers for the Lions with 20 points and seven assists.

The Riders will face Manchester Giants in the Cup final in January’s showcase, and the Giants enjoyed a big win over Cheshire Phoenix to secure the regular season sweep in the North West Derby earlier in the afternoon.

The Giants arrived at their final game of 2021 having won four out of their last five, and after an 8-0 run to start Thursday’s game laid an early marker to continue that form. Cheshire fought back however before a strong end to the half from the Giants gave them a slender lead at halftime.

In the early stages of the second half both sides struggled to find their footing offensively, before a pair of triples from Dan Clark early in the fourth started to give Manchester some breathing room. Namon Wright’s and-one effort brought the score to within a point with a minute to go, before Tyrik Armstrong’s drive to the basket all but secured the win for the Giants.

Clark led all scorers with 22 points, whilst Armstrong added 16 points and nine assists in another impressive showing from the American guard

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