Mo completes first Mo-mentum programme

This week Mo Walker completed his first Mo-mentum programme after completing a 5 week block at Wigston Academy, Manor High School, Gartree and Beauchamp College.

Throughout the Mo-mentum programme Mo uses his experiences playing professional basketball to offer help and support and inspire students.

Each session involved a presentation on a different chapter of Mo’s life, activities focused on the life skills Mo learnt and some time on court playing different basketball games.

Mr Carton from Wigston Academy believes the programme offered his students a valuable insight into the life of a professional athlete and the life skills you need to develop in order to be successful. “Mo’s 6 week programme offered a real personal insight into his life and the life of a professional athlete, where he discussed many important life skills such as confidence, resilience and much more. Thank you Mo!”

Mo is pleased with how his first programme has gone and hopes the students were able to take plenty away from it. “I think the first run of the program went very well. The kids at each school were all very engaged in every session by participating and asking good questions. Hopefully all the kids walked away with some valuable life lessons by listening to the trials and tribulations that basketball has put me through. They also had fun playing basketball games and having some competitions mixed in throughout the weeks. I’m looking forward to working with the next group of schools.”

If you would like Mo to run the Mo-mentum programme with either your school or youth group email [email protected] for more information.

Retro Series 2023 announced

Leicester Riders, Manchester Giants, Cheshire Phoenix and Newcastle Eagles are excited to announce the Retro Series 2023! 

Five games involving these four teams in March & April have been selected as special retro games featuring retro kits, old-school tunes and off-court appearances from BBL legends. 

Following the success of last season’s retro nights between Riders and Giants, the clubs are bringing back the retro games to allow the fans, players and coaches to celebrate their organisation’s history.

“We’re excited to be part of the Retro Series,” commented Riders Head Coach Rob Paternostro. “We had two entertaining games with Manchester last season, it was really cool to see both sets of fans wearing their clubs’ old jerseys at the games.”

Giants Head Coach Vince Macaulay “It’s great that this year’s Retro games have expanded to four teams. All four teams have a rich history in the BBL and we’re looking forward to celebrating it with our supporters at the games.” 

Leicester Riders will sport their 1987 uniform from the first ever season of the BBL. The Cheshire Phoenix will suit-up in the 2001-02 ‘Jet-wash’ uniform, celebrating a clean sweep of trophies. 

Newcastle Eagles are throwing it back to the 2004-05 season when the Eagles under legendary player-coach Fab Flournoy first won the BBL Trophy, beating Nick Nurse’s Brighton Bears in the final! Following on from the success of last year’s pinstripes, the Manchester Giants will be back this year with a retro style kit sporting the infamous cartoon Giant logo!

The Retro Series games will take place on the following dates:

March 31: Newcastle Eagles vs Cheshire Phoenix – Vertu Motors Arena, Newcastle Ticket Link

April 7: Manchester Giants vs Cheshire Phoenix – National Basketball Performance Centre, Manchester Ticket Link

April 9: Leicester Riders vs Newcastle Eagles – Morningside Arena, Leicester Ticket Link

April 16: Manchester Giants vs Leicester Riders – National Basketball Performance Centre, Manchester Ticket Link

April 23: Cheshire Phoenix vs Leicester Riders – The Cheshire Oaks Arena, Cheshire Ticket Link

Keep your eyes open for more announcements in the lead-up to the games! 

Riders take big road win

The Riders improve to 16-6 in the BBL Championship after a road win against the Cheshire Phoenix. 

Kimbal Mackenzie went off for 31, his highest-scoring tally as a Rider. He went 11-15 from the field and 5-5 from the free throw line in his explosive performance, taking over late with six points in the closing minutes as the Phoenix cut it to 10.  

Leicester blew the game open in the second quarter, as Mackenzie’s buzzer-beater to send the teams into halftime gave them their first double-digit lead. From there, they continued to build their advantage in the third, before seeing it out in the fourth in the face of a Phoenix comeback effort. 

Carrington Love recorded his first 20-point effort as a Rider after joining last month. He made three threes and dished six assists in his performance, acting as a spark plug off the bench. 

This marked the second double-digit win in a weekend doubleheader, as the Riders can take great momentum into a two-week break from action. 

For Cheshire, Anderson put up 24 in an attempt to get his side back in it. He scored key buckets late in the third to build momentum, but the Riders made big shots down the stretch to seal it. 

Neither side found a significant advantage until the second period. Cheshire edged ahead initially, taking a seven-point lead late in the first through a fastbreak layup from Maceo Jack. 

However, the Riders quickly responded, in part thanks to eight points from Carrington Love shortly after his introduction to the game. He hit a three on the buzzer to close the quarter, however, Cheshire went 12-17 from the field to take a narrow lead going into the second. 

Mackenzie’s free throws for his ninth points of the evening took their first lead of the game to start the second. He took over at the start of the quarter, scoring five in under two minutes to seize the game’s momentum. 

Leicester went 18-10 five minutes into the second period, taking a 44-38 lead. Marc Loving went off for 10 straight points, taking the reigns.

In reverse to the first quarter, the Phoenix were forced to fight back through three threes from Jack, however, on this occasion, the Riders kept the hosts at arm’s length to take an 11 point lead into halftime, following a buzzer-beating Mackenzie heave for three after a scramble for the ball. 

Back-to-back buckets from Mackenzie, which made his game tally 20, concluded a 14-8 run through the first five minutes of the third period. Leicester extended the lead built in the second period with intense defensive pressure leading to baskets on the fastbreak, leading to a fast-paced third quarter. 

The Riders built a 22 point lead near the end of the third before the Phoneix scored seven points in a minute to cut into the lead going into the fourth. Anderson scored five of these to give his side late momentum. 

Despite Cheshire bringing the Riders’ lead down to 10 in the fourth following a free throw from Larry Austin, the Riders saw it out, building off back-to-back tough midranges from Mackenzie with three minutes remaining.

From there, a three from Love and free throws from Mackenzie to get him over the 30 points mark left it beyond doubt. 

The Riders have a pause from action for the international break until March 3, when they take on the table-topping London Lions at home. Tickets are expected to sell fast, so get them here to watch the action live!

BBL Championship Preview: Riders at Phoenix

The Riders head to Cheshire to take on the Phoenix in the second game of their weekend doubleheader. 

They enter the game off the back of a home 104-84 against the Manchester Giants on Friday. It was a resounding win, with the Riders in full control throughout. They shot 58% from the field and 45% from three, scoring 30 points in the third quarter to blow the game open. 

READ MORE: Riders record big win at home

Their scoring was typical of the Riders’ season so far, as they are the league’s most efficient scorers. They lead the BBL in field goal, three-point and free throw percentage, and they rank second in the league in scoring putting up 87.5 a game. 

As he did against the Giants, Marc Loving leads the way on the season with 16.2 points per game. The Ohio-born forward is putting up career highs in points, assists and rebounds, stepping up into a leading role. 

The Riders possess a 15-6 record, good for third in the BBL Championship standings with three games in hand on the second-placed Bristol Flyers.

 Back-to-back wins in this weekend’s doubleheader will see them put the pressure on the Flyers as they look to climb the standings to close the year. 

Phoenix- Season so far 

The Phoenix currently sit midtable in the BBL Championship, after a recent road loss against the Caledonia Gladiators left them under .500 with an 11-12 record. The score was 83-78 in Scotland, despite a 26-point effort from point guard Marcus Evans. 

American guard Larry Austin Jr. has led them through the season with 16.2 points per game, an improvement on the 14.4 points he averaged last season with the Phoenix. On the other end, they lead the BBL in steals, playing aggressively on defence. 

The Phoenix find themselves in the midst of a Cup run, having reached the semi-final of the BBL Trophy. There, they will face the Sheffield Sharks as they look to retain their silverware from last season. 

Until then, the Phoenix looks to level their season record at 12-12 with a win against Leicester, their first since March 2021. 

Key matchup 

The Phoenix’s leading scorer, Larry Austin Jr., topped his team’s points column with 19 last time out against the Riders. He went 8-13 from the field and dished four assists in an attempt to get his side back into the game.

READ MORE: Riders win big against Phoenix 

He’s averaged 20.4 points per game over the last nine league games, Cheshire going 5-4 in those fixtures. Austin Jr. has scored a season-high of 27 on two separate occasions this season, most recently in December vs the Gladiators. 

Last season, he scored 23 points in the BBL Trophy final against the London Lions, earning the Final MVP for his efforts. He has been a major piece since his arrival in Cheshire and will be a tough defensive task for Riders’ point guard Kimbal Mackenzie.

Mackenzie’s play this season has earned him a spot on the GB roster, alongside fellow Riders Patrick Whelan and Aaron Menzies. He’s putting up 10 points per game and enters this one off the back of a 16-point effort vs the Giants. 

The 6’1” guard is a Bucknall graduate, who averaged 17 points per game as a senior. He’s scored in the double digits on 15 occasions this season, stepping up as a consistent starter. 

However, his role on the defensive end against Austin Jr. will go a long way in deciding the outcome of this one. 

Where to watch

The game will be played at the Cheshire Oaks Arena, tipping off at 5:30 pm. 

It will also be streamed live on the British Basketball League Youtube channel, starting at 5 pm. 

Riders record big win at home

The Riders improved to 15-6 in the BBL Championship, beating the Manchester Giants 104-84 at home. Marc Loving led an explosive offensive performance with 25 points, following up his 32 points last time out against Manchester.

He was backed by 18 from Zach Jackson and 16 from Kimabl Mackenzie, as the Riders’ offence shot 58% from the field and 45% from three in an explosive performance. 

The Giants could not contain the Riders’ offence and now have given up over 100 to them in the second-straight game. Offensively, they crashed the boards to grab 21 rebounds but shot just 21% from three in their loss. 

They had five scorers in double digits, led by 16 points and 3 assists from two-time BBL MVP Rahmon Fletcher. Nick Lewis also scored 16 off the bench, going 4-8 from deep. 

The opening stages were defined by high flying plays from the Riders, as Jackson and Loving threw down monster jams to help the Riders to a quick lead. Mackenzies’s three from the corner made it 15-6 with five minutes gone. 

The Riders attacked the rim all quarter, throwing down four jams. But the story of the first was Evan Walshe, who in his first Riders start ran the show from the point. He has five assists five minutes in, lighting up the arena with his flashy passing. 

Fueled by the momentum of the dunk party, the Riders burst out to a 27-13 opening period led by 10 points from Loving. 

The Giants found the bottom of the basket to start the second, stalling the Riders’ progress with 11 points in three minutes led by five from Lewis. Lewis scored nine in the period, helping the visitors cut the Riders’ lead to five.  

But Loving beat the buzzer to have the last say in the first half, draining a stepback three to make it 54-46. He had 21 points in the first, leading the game going into the locker rooms. 

Mackenzie kick-started the action in the second half, taking it coast-to-coast to make it a 10-point Riders lead. He had six in the first three minutes of the third, as the Riders extended their advantage. 

The Riders outscored the Giants 17-7 to start the third quarter, making it an 18-point lead. The period took the form of the first, as the Giants’ defence could not contain Leicester, who scored 30 points, led by nine from Jackson. 

Leicester saw the game out comfortably, keeping the Giants at arm’s length. Blake Bowman put up nine in the fourth to tally a career-high 12 points off the bench, sealing the win. 

The Riders play the second of a weekend doubleheader on Sunday, heading to Cheshire to take on the Phoenix. The game tips off at 5:30 pm, and a Riders win would see them continue to chase down second place in the BBL Championship standings. 

7 Academy players make it through to Aspire Super Camp

We are delighted to confirm that 7 of our Academy players have made it through to the Aspire Super Camp for the central region.

Kyra Johnson, Grace Nzeakor and Hanya Correria from our Under 16s Girls, Louie Marchesi, Finley Tuck and James Hardy from our Under 16s Boys and Ike Davids from our Under 14s boys will attend four groups of sessions in Birmingham for a place on the Central team in the All Star National Tournament at the National Basketball Performance Centre, Manchester from Friday 7 July to Sunday 9 July.  

We’d like to wish all of our players the best of luck at their upcoming camps.

BBL Championship Preview: Riders vs Giants

The Riders are set to host the Manchester Giants in BBL Championship action. A win would see them improve to 15-6, as they look to take advantage of three games in hand on the second-placed Bristol Flyers. 

The two teams have treated the BBL to classic matchups this season, as their previous two fixtures were fought wire-to-wire. 

The Riders emerged victors on both occasions, most recently a 114-107 overtime win to see them advance to the BBL Trophy quarter-final. 

Leicester fell out of the competition in their previous game vs the Sheffield Sharks, losing 79-78. They had a chance to win on the buzzer, but could not find the hoop with the final shot of the game

READ MORE: Riders lose to Sharks in Trophy quarter-final

Marc Loving leads the team in scoring this season, putting up 16.2 points per game on 50.2% shooting from the field. His efficient shooting is shared throughout the team, as they lead the league in field goal, free-throw and three-point percentage. 

A win against the Giants would make it a three-game winning streak in the league as the Riders look to close out the season on a hot stretch.

High-powered Giants

The Giants have lit up the BBL on the offensive end, leading the league in scoring with 90.4 points per game. They have two of the top six scorers in the BBL, Dirk Williams and Tajh Green, as they look to their star power to blow teams away. 

Green leads the way with 19.8 a game and 8.8 rebounds, the rookie exploding for big numbers is his first pro season. The high-flying forward has got fans on their feet with explosive plays on both ends. 

Despite Green’s play, teams have matched the Giants’ scoring so far this year, leaving them with an 11-10 league record. Their opponents score 91.5 points per game against Manchester, a BBL high. 

The Giants enter this game well-rested, last playing on Febuary 4. It was an 86-85 road win against the Surrey Scorchers to get them over .500, led by 29 points from Green. 

They will hope to climb the standings going into the postseason, as they sit just one win away from a home playoff game. A win in this game would go a long way to injecting momentum into Manchester’s season. 

Key matchup

Two-time MVP Rahmon Fletcher comes to Leicester, in different colours to what Riders fans have been accustomed to over the previous decade.

The Newcastle Eagles legend moved to the Giants over the offseason, following seven seasons in the Northeast. In that time, Fletcher earned four First-team All-BBL selections, three BBL Cup Final MVPs and a BBL Playoffs Final MVP, along with his two league MVPs. 

This season, Fletcher is putting up 14.7 points and 8.57 assists, his assist tally leading the BBL. He is an invaluable playmaker to the Giants, running the league’s highest-scoring offence. 

Lining up against him will be points guard Kimbal Makenzie, who received his first GB call-up earlier in the week. Mackenzie has stepped into a starting role this season and has prospered running the Riders’ offence. 

READ MORE: Kimbal, Patrick & Aaron in GB 24

Mackenzie is putting up 9.9 points for the Riders this season and has come up huge in the biggest spots. He scored five points in overtime last time out against the Giants, including a late free-throw to seal the win. 

The winner of this duel in the backcourt will go a long way to deciding this exciting matchup. 

Where to watch

The game, tipping off at 7:45, will be hosted at the Morningside Arena Leicetser on Friday Febuary 17. 

Get your tickets here! 

If you can’t get to the game, it will be streamed live on the British Basketball League Youtube channel, starting at 7:30 pm. 

Kimbal, Patrick & Aaron in GB 24

Riders guard Kimbal Mackenzie has been named in the Great Britain Men’s National Team 24-man roster for the first time for the upcoming FIBA World Cup Qualifiers against Belgium and Serbia.

Mackenzie who holds a British passport joins GB regulars Patrick Whelan and Aaron Menzies on the roster for the upcoming window.

GB face Belgium on Friday 24 Feb before travelling to Belgrade to face Serbia on 27 Feb.

24 Man Roster for FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Qualifying Window – February 2023

Amin Adamu G 25 6’5″ Kapfenberg Bulls (AUT) 0
Jamell Anderson F 32 6’7″ Cheshire Phoenix (GBR) 15
Michael Belle F 19 6’6″ Espoirs Strasbourg (FRA) 0
Quinn Ellis G 19 6’2″ Monferrato (ITA) 2
Ashley Hamilton F 34 6’7″ Quimper (FRA) 30
Myles Hesson F 32 6’6″ Kagawa Five Arrows (JPN) 54
Noah Horchler F 25 6’8″ Aris B.C. (GRE) 0
Kyle Johnson G 34 6’5″ Newcastle Eagles (GBR) 85
Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye G 26 6’3” Swans Gmunden (AUT) 19
Callum Lawson F 26 6’6″ Valur (ISL) 2
Kimbal Mackenzie G 26 6’1″ Leicester Riders (GBR) 0
Aaron Menzies C 26 7’3″ Leicester Riders (GBR) 2
Ben Mockford G 33 6’2″ Newcastle Eagles (GBR) 54
Luke Nelson G 27 6’3″ London Lions (GBR) 35
Teddy Okereafor G 30 6’4″ Apollon Limassol B.C. (CYP) 53
Gabe Olaseni C 31 6’10” Darussafaka (TUR) 53
Josh Sharma C 26 7’0″ London Lions (GBR) 2
Mo Soluade G/F 27 6’5″ London Lions (GBR) 7
Devon van Oostrum G 30 6’3″ BK Levicki Patrioti Levice (SVK) 50
Jelani Watson-Gayle G 24 6’1″ Bristol Flyers (GBR) 0
Carl Wheatle F 24 6’7″ Pistoia (ITA) 27
Patrick Whelan G 26 6’5″ Leicester Riders (GBR) 11
Jordan Williams F 27 6’8″ Hubner Nyiregyhaza (HUN) 4
Akwasi Yeboah F 25 6’6″ Darussafaka (TUR) 4

Riders lose in BBL Trophy Quarter-Final

The Riders fell out of the BBL Trophy at the quarter-final stage, losing 79-78 to the Sheffield Sharks. 

The Riders had the chance to win it on the buzzer, but Zach Jackson’s turnaround jumper did not find the net, following an inspired 10 point quarter from the American. 

Jackson finished the game with a team-high 18 points and five rebounds, shooting 58% from the field. He came up with big baskets down the stretch to keep Leicester in the tie, but the Riders ultimately fell short.

A 4-23 shooting night from three ultimately cost the Riders, who could not find their deep ball throughout. They also shot just 73% from the free-throw line and will rue missed opportunities for easy points. 

Kipper Nichols led the game with 19 points, scoring four points late and grabbing the game-sealing rebound. The Sharks built off an emphatic 15 point first half from bennet Koch, laying the foundation for a rare win in Leicester. 

Sheffield started hot, through the hands of Koch, who scored 10 points in the opening five minutes. Koch went five for five from the field before a well-earned rest midway through the first. 

Despite the big man’s play, the Riders hung in the game, matching Sheffield’s scoring through the period. Marc Loving led the team with seven, but a 5-0 run in the closing minutes gave the Sharks a 26-20 lead. 

The Riders hit back to start the second, as Carrington Love, inserted into the starting lineup in Patrick Whelan’s absence, scored three quick ones to cut the game to a score. A Jubril Adekoya layup two minutes into the quarter then tied the game.

Koch, checking back into the game, maintained his hot hand, scoring four more points for Sheffield to edge his side back ahead. But Leicester maintained their newfound momentum, snatching their first lead late in the half. 

The Riders’ defence locked up Sheffield in the second quarter, holding them to just eight points with two minutes left. But the Sharks found offensive form to close it, scoring seven in two minutes.

Loving close the half with a two-handed jam in traffic, making it 44-39 with 20 minutes to play. 

In a low-scoring start to the third, a Jordan Ratiho three for the Sharks made it a one point game. After a back and fourth battle, the visitors went on to take the lead following a pair of free throws from two-guard Nichols. 

Nichols scored seven to close the third, stretching their lead to four entering the final period.

The Riders swung the scoreline back in their direction but could not get over the hump through the opening minutes of the fourth. Jackson, Adekoya and Walshe found the basket, but the deficit was one point with five to play. 

Back-to-back threes from Sheffield, the second from Rodney Glasgow, rebuilt their lead. But the Riders, once again, cut their deficit to two after a pair of Jackson threes in response. 

Jackson continued his takeover of the game, stripping the ball from Nichols before Mackenzie drew an unsportsmanlike foul, tying the game from the free throw line. 

In the final minute, the Sharks found their way to the free throw line through Saeed Nelson who made one. The Riders had a chance to win it on the buzzer, but Jackson could not find the net.

The Riders remain at home for their next fixture, taking on the Manchester Giants in the BBL Championship. A win would see them improve to 15-6, as they go for three league wins on the bounce. 

BBL Trophy Preview: Riders vs Sharks

The Riders face the Sheffield Sharks in the quarter-final of the BBL Trophy. A win in this knockout competition would see them progress to the final four as they look to win the competition for the first time since 2018. 

The Riders enter the game on a high, after a significant 99-73 win against the Surrey Scorchers. They shot 42% from three and 50% from the field in an efficient display, where five Riders scored double digits. 

Marc Loving and Zach Jackson combined for 41 points, led by 21 from Loving. The 6’9” forward finished with eight rebounds, shooting 50% from the field. 

READ MORE:  Report: Riders see off Scrochers

Loving leads the Riders scoring in all competitions this season with 16.1 points per game, a career-high tally. He went off for 32 in the first round of the Trophy, an overtime win against the Manchester Giants. 

It was a hard-fought victory that came down to the wire, but the Riders emerged 114-107 after a dominant extra period. 

READ MORE: Report: Riders beat Giants in overtime thriller!

The Riders are one of the BBL’s premier offences, scoring the second-most points per game, and shooting at the most efficient rate from the field and three. They will have their work cut out in this one, however, against of the league’s elite defences. 

Sharks’ slow start

While Sheffield ranks second in opponent’s points per game, it has yet to translate to the win column. A 0-4 start to the season left them off the pace, and they currently sit in the final playoff place with an 8-15 record.  

They have not found an offensive rhythm, scoring a league-worst 73 points per game and shooting just 43% from the field. 

American point guard Saeed Nelson has led the charge to get points on the board for Sheffield, putting up 13.5 points per game. He is one of four Sharks scoring double-digit points this season and applies pressure on the other end, snatching 1.8 steals per game. 

This game sees a break from league action, however, as both teams turn their attention to the BBL Trophy. Sheffield last found themselves in the Trophy final in 2018, where they lost to the Riders 90-85. 

They’ve won the competition twice, most recently in 2013, where they again met Leicester in the final. This season, they met NBL side the Thames Valley Cavaliers, winning 98-66. The reigning treble winners will be a tougher test for the visitors in this one, but it is a game they will believe they can win to progress to the BBL Trophy third round.

Key matchup

In Sheffield’s previous fixture, a 77-71 loss to the Caledonia Gladiators, Devearl Ramsey led the game with a 23 point performance. It was Ramsey’s first 20 point game in Sheffield in his fifth appearance after signing in January, as he hit three threes and knocked down eight of his nine free throws. 

Ramsey is a second-year pro, who spent his rookie season in the NBA G-League. Before this, he spent three years at UC Santa Barbara, scoring 7.7 points per game in his final year. He played his rookie pro season for the Stockton Kings before moving to the BBL this season. 

Ramsey is a 6’0” two-guard capable of playing in either wing position. Ramsey is active in the lane, attacking the rim for shots inside or handoffs to his teammates. He has good touch at the rim, and can draw fouls inside to get free ones at the line. 

Taking on Ramsey for the Riders will be new addition, Carrington Love. The 29-year-old averaged 16.6 points and 5.8 assists last season in the German division two, playing for Eisbären Bremerhaven. He shot 47.4% from the field and 36.1% from three, finishing the year with a 16-13 record.

Love is a Green Bay graduate, having spent four years with the Phoenix between 2012 and 2016. He showed improvement every year, scoring a team-high 17.3 points per game as a senior.

He’s a sharpshooter from deep, and can breeze past defenders with flashy handles, finishing from all three levels or finding his teammates for assists. He put up eight points and five assists off the bench in his home debut vs the Scorchers, and will look for another solid effort in this one.

Where to watch 

This is the Riders’ second straight home game, and tickets are selling fast. Get them here! 

The game will also be streamed live on the British Basketball League Youtube channel, starting at 7:30 pm.

Riders see off Scorchers

The Riders improve to 14-6 in the BBL Championship after a 99-77 win against the Surrey Scorchers. 

Marc Loving led the game with 21 to steer the Riders to the win, in a game where five Leicester players scored double-digit points. His efforts were backed by 20 points from his wing partner Zach Jackson, who went off for 20. 

It was a one-point affair midway through the second period before the Riders blew the game open with a 13-2 run. They shot a red-hot 42% from three and 50% from the field, after entering the game leading the BBL in both categories.

It was the first appearance in Leicester for point guard Carrington Love, who impressed with eight points and five assists off the bench. His three-point shooting and playmaking added a different dimension to the Riders’ offence, as he looks to settle into the second half of the season.

The win makes it 38 games undefeated in all competitions against the Scorchers for the Riders. Padiet Wang and Jalen Ray combined for 13 each for the visitors, who cut the game to nine early in the fourth.

But the Scorchers could not contain the Riders’ offence, who bounced back to seal the win. 

After scoring 18 points in the first half of the previous meeting between the sides, Surrey’s leading scorer on the season Wang went off to start the game, scoring the first seven Scorchers points. 

The Riders fought back, taking the lead midway through the first with back-to-back threes from Jackson and Loving. The dynamic duo led the team with seven points each in the first quarter. 

The Riders held a narrow lead until the end of the period, as new man Love drained a three on the buzzer to make it 23-17 to the hosts. 

Love carried the momentum into the second period, hitting from midrange to get another two on the board. But the Scorchers had the best of the early stages of the quarter, bringing their deficit to one point after a jam from Wang. 

Whelan hit back, finding his from deep to make two threes, making it a nine-point game four minutes from halftime. The Riders commenced a 13-2 run following Whelan’s first three to jump out to their first significant lead of the game. 

Love concluded the quarter yet again, drawing a foul on a three before making two shots at the line. He finished the half with eight points in six minutes off the bench in his first Riders home game, as the hosts entered the locker rooms up 51-41. 

Leicester continued their hot deep shooting form to start the second half, as Whelan and Loving knocked down their first attempts to stretch the lead. The Riders controlled the game with their advantage, getting to the rim to win the third 28-21 to make it a 17-point game. 

The Scorchers came out hot in the final period, starting 8-0 after two Kyle Carey threes to cut the game to nine. 

But the Riders seized back control, as Kimbal Mackenzie scored five straight to rebuild the lead, hitting his second three of the game. 

Leicester responded to Surrey’s surge with a 10-3 run, to leave the result in little doubt. 

Next up, the Riders host BBL Trophy action, taking on the Sheffield Sharks in the quarter-final. The game takes place on Febuary 10th, tipping off at 7:45 pm. 

BBL Championship preview: Riders vs Scorchers

The Riders return to league action, hosting the Surrey Scorchers in the BBL Championship. The game tips off at 7:45 pm, on Friday 3rd Febuary.

Get your tickets here!

Leicester enter this one off the back of the BBL Cup final, where they fell just short against the London Lions. It was a four-point game late in the fourth quarter, but the Riders could not get over the hump against a talented Lions team, losing 79-71. 

Zach Jackson led the team with 16 points and four rebounds, going 2-4 from deep.

Read our full report here.

The Riders have three scorers putting up 15 points per game this season, Jackson, Patrick Whelan and Loving. They are led by Loving, who puts up 16.1 points per game in all competitions.

Loving’s play has helped Leicester to third in the standings, with four games in hand on second-placed Bristol. They possess a 13-6 record after beating the Cheshire Phoenix 100-82 to start a three-game league home stretch. 

The Riders are the most efficient team in the BBL, shooting the best field goal and three-point percentage in the league, leading to the second most points. They’ll look to continue shooting the lights out to bounce back in this one. 

Scorchers heating up?

Despite their 2-17 record leaving them bottom of the BBL Championship table, the Scorchers have played teams close throughout the season, unable to convert performances to wins.

11 of their losses have been within 10 points, most recently a 97-92 loss to the Manchester Giants. Josh Steel’s three with 24 seconds remaining cut it to a one-possession affair late, but the Giants’ made their free throws to secure the win.

Ryan Martin led Surrey with 22 points and six rebounds. The GB big is the Scorchers’ fourth-leading scorer with 11.8 points per game this season and has added physicality and size to a guard-heavy roster. 

But it’s one of their guards, Padiet Wang, who has led their scoring this season with 12.2 an outing. Wang was lights out in the previous meeting between these sides, scoring 18 in the first half. 

He will hope for another offensive explosion to help his team past the Riders. 

Key matchup 

GB guard Andrew Lawrence has continued to impress for Surrey this season, during his second year in the BBL. The 6’1” two-guard is scoring 10.9 points per game, shooting a red-hot 38.5% from three. 

Lawrence is an eight-year pro, having played at the top level of European basketball, in Spain and France’s top division. He put up six points per game in Spain for Acunsa Gipuzkoa, playing 23 games. 

Lawrence is having joy attacking the hoop this season, shooting 70% from in close. He comes off the back of a 16-point showing against the BBL’s best defence, the London Lions, and now faces another GB talent in Patrick Whelan. 

Whelan, like Lawrence, is playing in his second straight season for his team. He led the Riders in scoring last year and has continued his hot form into 2023. He’s scoring 15.3 points per game, and is one of the BBL’s top three-point shooters, making 45.5% of his shots from behind the arc. 

Whelan received his first GB call-up last March, and earned a spot on the Eurobasket 2022 roster, after being named to the BBL Team of the Year last season. He’s one of the BBL’s top talents on both ends and will prove a challenge to Lawrence’s offensive skillset. 

Where to watch

The game will be streamed live on the British Basketball League Youtube channel, starting at 7:30 pm.