Report: Riders beat Flyers to start Trophy campaign

Leicester Riders began their British Basketball League Trophy campaign with a bang, beating the Bristol Flyers 95-74. 

Teddy Allen dropped his second 30-point performance as a Rider, putting up 30 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists to earn Player of the Game honours. 

He was backed by Sam Idowu off the bench, whose impact inside prevented second-chance points for the Flyers, and prevented star big man Brad Greene from dominating the matchup as he did two weeks prior. 

Greene was held to 7 points, and the Flyers to 9 offensive rebounds, below their season average of 13.4, which leads the British Basketball League. 

The Riders’ offence was clicking throughout, shooting 50% from the field, and found success at the rim to shoot 64% from the field. Idowu and Allen combined for 14-19 from within the arc. 

Miryne Thomas’ 7 points to start the game led the Riders to an early lead. He hit the team’s first three of the game before getting to work down low for his next two buckets, making it 11-9 to the hosts. 

Following the first commercial timeout, the Riders blew the game open. A barrage of Riders offence, which included a four-point play from Allen who drained a three through contact, saw them grow the lead to double digits after a quarter. 

The Riders made it 20 quickly in the second quarter. Veteran guard Conner Washington pulled up from deep three-point range to get the period underway before Allen dropped Rowell Graham-Bell with a crossover and hit a triple. 

Allen, catching fire and running in transition, then connected with Thomas, who threw down a lob pass emphatically for the play of the game. Leicester won the second 30-17, and led 57-32 at the half, led by Allen’s 15 and Thomas’ 11 points. 

Idowu made his impact felt off the bench. Getting to the rim with ease, he went 6-7 from the field in the first half, logging 13 points and six rebounds. 

Towards the end of the third, Bristol clawed back into contention with hot three-point shooting. They cut it to 18 after Kedrian Johnson and Trejon Jacob hit on back-to-back possessions, but Kimbal Mackenzie drove to the hoop for an and-one to stem the tide. 

The captain drained a three next time down with 1:30 to go to make it 73-49. Jacob ended the third with a slam in transition, the Riders up 21 with a quarter to play. 

Washington got the final quarter going, hitting a turnaround catch-and-shoot three with a hand in his face. 

The Flyers continued to battle, chipping into the lead once again in the fourth. Forced a Riders timeout, the score 81-64 with 7:06 left. 

The Riders fell back on their defence, holding Bristol to four points in as many minutes to keep them at arm’s length. Allen and Jaren Holmes combined for five quick points with three minutes left to put the game beyond doubt, with Leicester up 22. 

The Riders return to action on Sunday, facing the London Lions on the road, before returning home to play the Manchester Giants on Wednesday, tipping off at 7:45 pm.

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