Report: Riders win a battle against Gladiators

The Riders won a hard-fought battle against the Caledonia Gladiators 96-90, led by Teddy Allen’s emphatic debut. 

Allen scored 32 points in his first appearance in Riders red, putting on a show in the clutch. Teddy “Buckets” went 5-7 from three and 10-19 from the field to explode on the British Basketball scene. 

It was a tightly contested game throughout, the Riders coming back from a double-digit deficit in the third to win it late. They won the fourth 27-17 to secure the win. 

Allen was backed by his captain, as Kimbal Mackenzie went off for 19 points, including 11 in the opening period to get the game underway. Sam Idowu also found success, working with his teammate’s elite guard play to score 14. 

The Riders cooked from three, shooting 50% from deep in the game and going 33-66 from the field in an efficient shooting display. They overcame the League’s third-placed team to bounce back from recent losses, improving to 8-10. 

For Caledonia, Ian Dubose went off for 22 and seven assists to lead the team. They came close to a second win against the Riders this season, but it was Leicester who got it done in the clutch this time around. 

The Riders hit the ground running with a hot start, as TJ Lall and Mackenzie combined for the game’s first five points. Mackenzie scored 11 to start the game, the captain exploding early. 

Caledonia quickly clicked into gear. Led by Prince Onwas who scored seven points, they climbed back into the game and made it a back-and-forth encounter. Former Rider Patrick Whelan ended the first with four points to make it 25-18 to the visitors. 

Allen opened his Riders account with a layup to start the second quarter. But it was New York native Idowu who got to work down low to chip into the deficit, throwing down the highlight of the night with an explosive two-handed slam over Lukas Palyza. 

Allen caught fire midway through the second, connecting with his first three as a Rider before hitting at the foul line to cut the game to one.

The debutant scored 14 in the second quarter to burst onto the scene at the Morningside Arena, the Gladiators finding no answer for Allen as he attacked the rim relentlessly. 

But Caledonia, led by 12 from Onwas, led 51-47 after the first half of action. They went on a 6-3 run in the final minute to build their narrow lead. 

The Gladiators were the better team to start the second half, building their lead to double digits with a 9-2 start after Palyza’s three. 

The Riders cut into the deficit with Allen checking back into the affair. He lit up the Arena with a four-point play with three minutes left in the quarter, before Jaren Holmes put away a tough finish inside to make it a seven-point difference. 

Idowu scored back-to-back baskets, including a breakaway jam to lift the roof off the building as the Riders continued to roll. Holmes cut it to a possession with an and-one to cap off an 11-2 run. 

Idowu tied it up at 73 to start the final period of play, setting up an intense finale. The sides exchanged baskets through the opening stages, but it was 81-81 by the media timeout with 4:21 left. 

The Riders continued to pour in buckets. Allen dropped Moore Jr with a stepback, draining his fourth three of the night following the ankle breaker, before Idowu hit a putback layup to take a late lead. 

Allen continued his emphatic display, draining a three for his 29th points with 1:11 on the clock to make it a five-point Leicester lead. Holmes followed up his new teammate with a triple of his own to seal it. 

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