Report: Riders finish Championship season with a win in Surrey

Leicester Riders concluded their British Basketball League Championship season with an 94-88 road win against the Surrey Scorchers. 

Teddy Allen led the game with a red hot 30 point performance, going 11-22 from the field. Allen was cooking from deep, going 6-11 from behind the line, and draining back-to-back triples from deep three point range to get the Riders out of a deficit in the second quarter. 

But it was Sesan Russell who got Leicester over the line, logging a season-high 20 points with 17 in the second half. His free throws sealed the game late, capping off an impressive display. 

The win sees the Riders lock up the fifth seed for the postseason, ensuring they will face the Sheffield Sharks in the opening round of the Playoffs. 

Scorchers survive sharpshooting Allen 

Allen wasted no time in taking it to the Scorchers. A four point play, drawing contact from Abdul Mohamed, gave him 9 points in three minutes as the Riders took an 8-12 lead. He was into double figures quickly after with his third three of the game. 

The highlights kept coming in a high-scoring first quarter. Next it was Jaren Holmes on the break, throwing it up for Miryne Thomas who threw it down with authority. 

Despite the big plays, they couldn’t shake the hosts who had a hot hand of their own: Quin Cooper. He drained three triples early in a back-and-forth start. He stayed hot in the second, hitting from the corner to make it 27-28 with 11 minutes played. 

Scorchers take initiative 

An 8-0 Surrey run, highlighted by a breakaway jam from Tayo Ogendengbe, gave them their first separation of the afternoon. 

The Riders responded with an and-one at the hoop from Russell, before Thomas connected on a tough fadeaway on the buzzer for his 12th points. 

But a corner three from Mohamed took momentum back, and Cameron Copeland made a layup inside to give the hosts a nine point lead. He then went back up the floor and nailed a contested triple over Holmes, making it a double-digit advantage. 

Teddy takeover 

The Riders, whose high-level scoring to start the game cooled off in the Scorchers run, re-found their rhythm through Allen, who took over once again. 

He drove to the rim for two, then drew contact for an and-one to pull the deficit down to eight. Testing his range, Allen went back-to-back from deep emphatically, pulling up from the car park and finding nothing but string. 

He cut the game to a single possession as the half came to a close, but Dijiani Parkinson ended the quarter from three to make it 54-48 going into the locker rooms. 

On fire out of the half

12 points in two and a half minutes gave the Riders the lead quickly after halftime. Allen got them going by driving inside and dishing to Russell, Thomas followed with an and-one play (his sixth make in as many shots), and Russell then tied the game at 56.

After a Cooper miss, Allen pulled up from the elbow and found the bottom of the bucket to force a Surrey timeout. He then made his tally 27 with a steal and score after the break. 

Gooden stopped the Riders’ run with a three, but Leicester were back in it. 

Riders win out in the clutch

With Russell shouldering the scoring load with buckets to end the third, Blake Bowman gave the Riders a four point lead with one to play, finishing on the fastbreak, plus the foul. 

Leicester started fourth on a run to make it a seven point advantage, Russell staying hot to snatch the ball from Cooper and add another two to his now 13 point tally. 

Surrey came storming back after stemming the Leicester momentum, however, and Mohamed’s three cut it to a one possession game with 4:52 left. 

The Riders seized control, building off the interior defence of Sam Idowu. He sent away Gooden’s attempted layup, and on the other end Russell and Allen hit threes to put Leicester up nine. 

Mohamed made an and-one to breathe life into the Surrey cause, but Holmes hit back with a finish inside. 

Copeland had a chance to cut the game to four, but dribbled off his knee, and Russell sank his foul shots next time up for his 20th points, sealing the win. 

A series with the Sharks

Game one against the Sheffield Sharks will take place on Sunday April 28 at 4 pm, and will be played at the Canon Medical Arena. 

Game two, at the Mattioli Arena, will be played at 6 pm on May 4. 

Stay tuned for information on game three, if necessary.