The Leicester Riders beat the London Lions 80 – 63 in front of a sell out crowd in Loughborough in the first leg of the BBL Trophy semi final on Sunday. They go into the second leg with a 17 point lead.
The London Lions started off strong in the first quarter thanks to the efforts of former Riders players Drew Sullivan and Zaire Taylor scoring six three pointers which took them into the lead with 23 points to Riders 11.
The Riders fought back in the second quarter, tying the game at 40 – 40.
In the third quarter the Riders continued their fight back and ended the quarter 60 – 52. Scoring another 20 points in the last quarter meant the Riders finished the game on top with 80 points to the Lions 63.
TrayVonn Wright scored 21 points with Rashad Hassan getting 11 rebounds and Neil Watson scored 13 assists.
Head coach, Rob Paternostro was pleased with his teams performance, “I really thought we played well, after the first five minutes they came out and especially Drew and Zaire, I thought were fantastic, hitting shots all over, we struggled to make some shots we could make, but the guys know its an 80 minute game and we had to stay with it and after that I thought defensively we were excellent”
“Its nice to have any advantage, but under no circumstances is this thing over”
“We will have to go down there and play really well to come out of there”.
Neil Watson spoke about the teams win, “We didn’t expect to be up by 17 let alone win by 17 but you know the game happened and it happened to go our way, our guys played hard and we came to play and we ended up getting the win”.
The Leicester Riders travel to London to take on the Lions in the second leg at the Copperbox on 8 March.