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Report: Riders lose in London

The Leicester Riders 89-74 lost on the road to the London Lions, falling to 1-1 in the British Basketball League Trophy Group B. 

Teddy Allen, recently named British Basketball League Player of the Month for December, led the game with 21 points. Sam Idowu backed up Allen with 13 points and 10 rebounds, logging his second straight double-double off the bench.

The game got away from them in the third quarter, as Leicester went scoreless through five minutes. London stretched the lead to 20, and despite a positive Riders fourth quarter, saw the game out from there. 

Leicester struggled to connect from three all afternoon, finishing the game 8-29 from range. 

London’s Matthew Morgan led the hosts with 15 points, and their big man Donte Grantham put on a good showing with 14 points in 19 minutes. The Lions dominated in close, going 30-51 from inside the arc. 

The Riders hung with the Lions through the opening stages, despite struggling for offence. Allen got to the line twice to lead the team through five minutes with 4 points, but the Lions led 10-7. 

Miryne Thomas picked up two quick fouls, allowing Blake Bowman to impress off the bench. 

He scored on back-to-back possessions, draining a contested turnaround from the post before taking Josh Sharma off the dribble and laying in a bucket, then dishing an assist to Sam Idowu next time up the court. 

The Riders trailed 25-19 after a quarter, but that quickly became 31-19 a minute into the second. They started 1-9 from three, and the Lions started the second quarter on a 6-0 run by getting to the bucket on three straight trips. 

Jaren Holmes connected from deep for the Riders’ first points of the quarter, cutting the deficit to nine. 

This took the lid off the basket, and Leicester were able to stem the tide. Allen found his shooting form after an 0-5 start from the field, and put 8 points together quickly to make the score 39-34. He had 15 with 4:18 remaining in the half. 

The Lions rebuilt their lead to double digits come halftime, as GB guard Luke Nelson put the ball in the basket to generate some offence for the hosts. The score was 50-40 by the buzzer to end the second. 

London scored 11 quick points to start the second half to extend their lead. Grantham drained three straight triples, two more than the team scored in the first half, making it 61-40. 

The Riders went scoreless until 4:04 left in the third. Thomas put it through, but the Riders were down 21. It was 70-49 going into the fourth, after Leicester lost the period 20-9. 

Leicester’s efforts to chip into the deficit saw them contest in a hard-fought final quarter. Kimbal Mackenzie got on the board to score five straight points and cut the game to 15 with 5:58 left. 

The Riders kept chipping away, and Allen attacked the hoop and made it 76-62.  But after making it a 14-point deficit, the Lions held the Riders from there and saw the game out led by Grantham’s shot-making. 

The Riders return to action on Wednesday, taking on the Manchester Giants at home, tipping off at 7:45 pm. 

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