Report: Riders fall in clutch to Sharks

Leicester Riders fell 74-77 to Sheffield Sharks in Game Two of the British Basketball League Quarter-Finals.

Prentiss Nixon’s game winner forced a Game Three in Sheffield, after a closely fought battle throughout. 

Teddy Allen led the tie with 23, hitting big shots consistently to keep the Riders in touch. The Riders had a chance to tie with 1.6 seconds on the clock, but Miryne Thomas’ attempt missed, and he found no call despite claims of contact. 

Malek Green led the Sharks with 22 points and 11 rebounds going 10-13 from the field. 

Game Three is to be played on Sunday May 5 at 4pm, at the Canon Medical Arena. 

Teddy takeover starts Game Two

Allen took over the opening stages with his tough shot making, draining two-and-ones including a fadeaway out of a double team. He scored six to lead Leicester to a 12-9 start by the media timeout. 

Duke Shelton, checking into the game for the first time, made an immediate impact with a slam, running the pick-and-roll with Sesan Russell. He pulled down an offensive board next time down which led to a Thomas hookshot, and putback Jaren Holmes‘ miss to put Leicester up 18-11. 

Fending off the fightback

Nixon picked up where he left off after 25 points in Game One, draining a corner three for Sheffield off the bench. He and Kipper Nichols took over for a stretch, and the Sharks tied it at 24 quickly in the second period. 

Allen stayed hot, hitting a triple from the top to get three points back for the hosts. TJ Lall drove inside for an and-one, then Conner Washington stepped up to hit a three, which took the roof off the Arena and rebuilt the Leicester lead to seven. 

A three from Allen with 3:48 left in the half, following Sam Idowu’s second block of the game, made it double digits and brought his tally to 12. 

It was Thomas’ time to get to work a minute later. He sized up Marcus Delpeche at the top of the arc, stepping back for three to make it 45-30. 

Ratinho run gets Sheffield back in it

Jordan Ratinho was the Shark to snatch momentum back, laying in a two before driving on the fastbreak to be sent to the foul line by Idowu.

After he made both, Ramsey stole the ball and found Ratinho on the run again, and he went to the line for two more to make it 45-38 with 1:07 left in the half. 

Russell, fighting among the trees for an offensive board, made a trip to the stripe himself to stop the 6-0 Ratinho run, but out of a timeout Nixon got to the midrange for two. The half ended with Green at the line, who made it 47-41 at the break. 

Sharks snatch the lead in tense third

RJ Eytle-Rock started the half with two buckets at the rim for the Sharks to make it a one score game. But Russell once again settled the team by making his way to the line, stealing the ball from Ramsey in transition and taking a charge on him in three straight plays. 

Russell was relentless, covering all 94 feet on defence to suffocate the Sharks. But his defence on Green in the post was deemed too physical for the officials, and he was forced to the bench in foul trouble. 

With Russell on the bench, Green tied it up with a drive to the rim with 5:30 left in the third, and the Sharks then took the lead at the hands of Delpeche. 

Defences locked down for the rest of the third, with only one point scored in over two minutes. Sheffield led by a score during that time until Jalon Pipkins laid in a two to make it 56-60. He then got to the hoop to start the fourth for two more. 

Sharks hit game winner in closely fought clutch

Despite a defensive start to the fourth, Idowu and Lall came up with Riders scores to cut it to two. Allen scored four straight points, but Sheffield got to the rim back-to-back and they took a four point edge. 

Two offensive rebounds for Green in succession meant it was 64-70. But Allen came up with a huge four-point play, hitting a three through contact to keep the Riders in touch. Fading away on the baseline, he then hit a tough contested two, and was followed by a layup from Holmes. 

Allen and Lall both had chances to tie the game from three, but missed both attempts with two minutes left. Idowu then went to the foul line and made one of two to make it 72-74. 

Green missed from two, and Iwodu followed his own miss to tie with 50 seconds left. Idowu was called for a double dribble, giving the Sharks a shot to win. Nixon took it, and hit a three with 1.6 seconds left. 

Thomas had a chance to tie on the horn, but missed and found no call despite claims of contact, and the series was sent to a third game.