Riders strengthen lead at the top as Phoenix edge Patriots

BBL Championship
Cheshire Phoenix 80-77 Plymouth City Patriots (21-22, 45-50, 60-65)
(Phoenix – Wright 15, Austin Jr 15, Ochereobia 11; Patriots – Graham-Bell 22, Williams 22, Hart 14)

BBL Championship
Glen Luss Glasgow Rocks 76-105 Leicester Riders (17-33, 37-68, 46-90)
(Rocks – Fraser 17, Harris 17, Jacdonmi 15, Riders – Whelan 23, Loving 22, Adekoya 18)

Leceister Riders further strengthened their position at the top of the BBL Championship with a convincing win over Glasgow Rocks, whilst a late Cheshire Phoenix comeback saw them edge a thriller against Plymouth City Patriots.

A dominant first half performance was enough for the Riders to make it a four-point weekend, whilst the Phoenix racked up their sixth win on the bounce against a Patriots side who had won their previous four.

After Friday’s home win over B. Braun Sheffield Sharks, the Riders knew they could extend their lead at the top with a win over the Rocks. They would be without star man Geno Crandall and big man Mo Walker, however showed no signs of skipping a beat as they erupted for 68 first half points.

The Riders were lights out from three-point range in the half, amassing 11 triples in an exceptional offensive showing. The Rocks struggled to gain a foothold in the game and were held to nine points in the third quarter, before a 30-point final period bridged the gap on a sizeable scoreline.

Patrick Whelan led all scorers with 23 points on a mightly impressive 8-10 shooting, whilst Conner Washington stuffed the stat sheet with a double-double of 17 points, 10 rebounds to go with five assists.

The day’s earlier game saw two of the league’s form sides play out a thriller as Cheshire Phoenix mounted a late comeback to overcome Plymouth. After a tough start to the season the Patriots have enjoyed an upturn in form and a rise up the table, and carried that momentum into the early stages of the game as they edged a tight first half.

The third period was locked at 15 apiece to set up a tense final 10 minutes. It was the Phoenix who seized the initiative in the dying stages of the contest. As the game looked to be heading to overtime with 19 seconds to go, Larry Austin Jr grabbed the offensive board to bank it home to complete a 20-12 fourth quarter comeback, and keep the Phoenix’s winning run going.

Austin Jr posted a monster double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds whilst Rowell Graham-Bell and Antonio Williams scored 22 points apiece for the Patriots.

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