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Basketball: Leicester Riders 84 Durham Wildcats 81: Riders hold nerve for landmark win


Leicester Riders survived a late scare to see off Durham Wildcats 84-81 and keep up their fight for second place in the BBL Championship.

It was Leicester's 20th league win of the campaign, a landmark they have reached only eight times since league play started in 1972, with six of them coming in the last seven seasons under coach Rob Paternostro.

Riders led by 14 points with five minutes to go, but some fantastic shooting from Durham in the closing stages gave them two chances to force overtime in the dying seconds, but they were unable to take either.

A couple of Tyler Bernardini three-pointers and a 360-degree slam dunk from TrayVonn Wright had Riders 21-14 ahead in the opening quarter, but two three-pointers from the visitors saw them finish the period with eight of the last 10 points to cut the margin to 23-22.

Wright continued to put on a dunk-fest with three slams in a row as Riders edged 29-24 in front, but they were unable to shake off a dogged Wildcats side.

A couple of late threes from Neil Watson and Wright gave Riders a nine-point lead at the interval and the pair hit again from long range just after half-time as Leicester eased 63-46 in front.

Three scores in a row from Rashad Hassan had Leicester's lead out to 21 points and they entered the final quarter with a seemingly unassailable 71-55 advantage.

But five points from Sam Martin and two more threes from David Buchberger in the first two minutes of the final quarter had the gap down to only 10 points.

Leicester were still 11 points clear with three minutes to play but, as they tired from a second game in 24 hours, Martin and Buchberger again helped closed the gap from behind the arc, making it 84-81 with 90 seconds remaining.

A turnover and a missed three-pointer by Leicester gave Durham the ball with 20 seconds to go, and they needed only one more long-range effort to force overtime.

Buchberger, who had made six of his nine three-point attempts at that point, missed from the corner to tie and although Durham snaffled the offensive rebound, Chris Jones was also unable to extend the game with his three-point attempt.

Wright led the way with 25 points and seven rebounds, while Hassan (21 points, 12 rebounds) and Watson (12 points, 11 assists) both posted double-doubles.

Basketball: Leicester Riders 84 Durham Wildcats 81: Riders hold nerve for landmark win

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