The Riders took a comeback win against the Surrey Scorchers to improve to 5-3 in the British Basketball League Championship.
They were down by as much as 23 early, before a fightback starting at the end of the first half saw them come back and win the game.
Miryne Thomas led the team’s scoring for the second straight game, going off for 20 points and 11 rebounds and coming up with momentum-building plays throughout. As did his teammate Jaren Holmes, who scored seven straight to start the final quarter and steal the late momentum.
Surrey, led by Padiet Wang’s 18 points, six rebounds and five assists, started hot, forcing Leicester to dig themselves out of a hole and earn the win the hard way. Their last three fixtures will give them confidence going into the rest of the year, beating the Giants before playing the top two from last season close.
They came storming out the gate, getting out to a 9-1 lead after just two minutes. They found success in close, and Wang’s putback layup forced an early timeout from Head Coach Rob Paternostro.
The Scorchers’ hot shooting continued for the entirety of the first. Wang scored seven, digging the Riders a 28-12 hole to climb out of early.
They struggled to make inroads for much of the second quarter. Scorchers big man Saiquan Jamison dominated the paint through the first 20 to put up 13 points and three rebounds.
The Riders then fought back from 23 points down as the half came to a close, bringing it to within single digits after Kimbal Mackenzie’s free throws. Veteran guard Conner Washington lit the spark, consistently hitting tough shots to get Leicester back in it.
The score was 45-36 to the visitors, a manageable position for Leicester to mount a second-half comeback.
Coming out of the locker rooms, the Riders took the game by the reins and stormed back into the tie. They attacked the rim relentlessly, the surge led by Xavier Pinson, who cut the game to one score at the free throw line.
A pair of Thomas threes followed up Pinson’s play, taking the first Riders lead since their first score of the game. The Scorchers responded, and the sides engaged in a back-and-forth throughout the rest of the third.
Caleb Asberry heated up from three, making three in the quarter to lead the team in scoring going into the fourth. Two Riders scores in the final seconds saw them take the lead at the end of the quarter.
Leicester blew the game open in a strong final period. Jaren Holmes scored seven straight points to earn the Riders an advantage, the Riders making it a nine-point lead with five minutes remaining.
The Scorchers hit back with a pair of triples, making it a tense finish, but the hosts had enough to seal the win, making shots consistently at the free-throw line. Sam Idowu hit the final free throw to end the tie.
The Riders return to action on Sunday, taking on the Caledonia Gladiators on the road for the second game of a weekend doubleheader.
Want to see the Riders in action?