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Basketball: Leicester Riders close in on perfect home record

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With two homes games to play, Leicester Riders are closing in on the perfect home league campaign at the John Sandford Sports Centre.

Riders' 84-71 victory over third-placed Glasgow Rocks on Saturday was their 15th in 15 league games this season – their only loss at home in any competition was the Trophy semi-final that they won on aggregate anyway.

A blistering spell of about five minutes either side of half-time sent the Jelson Homes DMU-backed Riders on their way to a surprisingly comfortable success over a team who, in the last 11 games, have not lost to anyone other than Leicester.

Riders were without Zaire Taylor, and Pavol Losonsky was given less than 10 minutes, but such has been the level of play of Leicester's back-up players this season, you would scarcely have noticed.

After their epic win against Newcastle on Wednesday, there were probably a few in the capacity crowd who worried it may be a case of after the Lord Mayor's show for Riders, as they spluttered through the opening four minutes and found themselves 12-4 behind.

But defensively they never take a night off and, when Jay Couisnard and Yorick Williams both hit three-pointers, the scores were level at 16.

Donald Robinson had 13 of the Rocks' first 23 points, but once Jamell Anderson had got him under control, Glasgow started to struggle. The visitors still looked good for a half-time lead, but a spectacular triple by Jorge Calvo as the shot clock expired with 20 seconds left tied the game at 37-all.

The Spaniard then stole an inbound pass from Sterling Davis and netted another three on the half-time buzzer to give Riders a 40-37 lead.

They took that momentum into the third quarter and nine unanswered points saw them 52-39 ahead three minutes into the second half.

Drew Sullivan then connected with two three-pointers in 30 seconds as Riders moved 18 points clear.

A spectacular block from Calvo early in the fourth quarter underlined Riders' commitment to defence and helped their lead peak at 72-49. Leicester could have been even further clear had their free-throw shooting not been so wayward.

In the closing stages, Davis hit three three-pointers as the Rocks narrowed the gap, but Riders' home record was never in doubt.

Sullivan, as he has been all season, was immense with 24 points and he will surely be named as the league's player of the season. But Riders' success has been built on contributions from all and Anderson, Williams and Calvo typified that with excellent performances.

Riders 84: Sullivan 24, Couisnard 15, Anderson 15, Calvo 10, Williams 7, Rowe 7, Lamble 4, Maynard 2.

Rocks 71: Robinson 18, Davis 14, Harrison 12, Wedemire 8, Ringgold 8, Murray 7, Vanderbeken 2, Fantazia 2

Basketball: Leicester Riders close in on perfect home record


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