The Riders beat the Plymouth City Patriots 99-85 on the road. They took a double-digit lead in the first quarter and never surrendered their advantage to improve to 21-9.
Zach Jackson led the team for the second straight game, scoring 24 points after putting up 28 on Friday. He was followed up by Marc Loving’s 22 points and eight rebounds, but the Ohio-born forward played just 25 minutes after picking up a wrist injury in the third period.
It was an efficient display from the visitors, who shot 50% from the field and went 25-27 from the free-throw line. Loving went 4-6 from three to stretch the lead, which the Riders saw home professionally.
The win sees them claim second place in the BBL Championship standings in the final month of the regular season.
The Patriots’ Elvisi Dusha’s 19 points were not enough to win the tie, as the hosts missed 10 foul shots in the game. That proved the difference, as Plymouth now sit just two wins ahead of the Newcastle Eagles in the final playoff spot after their win this afternoon.
The Riders jumped out to a lead early through a hot offensive start. They looked to get out in transition, running the fastbreak often to score plenty of points in the first. Leicester ended the quarter up 25-16, led by Patrick Whelan and Jackson who had six points each.
Kimbal Mackenzie took over the scoring load to start the second with back-to-back threes.
Little separated the sides through the period. Former Rider Rashad Hassan found success finishing at the rim to keep his side in it, but the Riders were up going into the locker rooms after Loving’s 12-point half.
The Patriots had the better start to the second half, cutting it to a one-possession game after a fastbreak slam from James Hawthorne Jr. The Leicester response was immediate, and Jackson’s drive to the rim capped off a 5-0 run from the visitors to rebuild their lead.
The three ball started to fall for Leicester, as Loving and Whelan hit in to make it a 14-point advantage. Meanwhile, Jackson got himself to the free throw line consistently to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
The Patriots also got to the foul stripe, shooting eight free throws in the third quarter to stay in it. Blake Bowman drove to the hoop for Leicester to put them up 11 with one to play.
Jubril Adekoya took over the game with his playmaking ability to start the fourth. He dished a pair of no-look assists to get the Riders’ offence hot.
After Adekoya got them going, the Riders comfortably saw the game out to secure their third win on the bounce. He went for six points, two assists and two rebounds in the fourth to see it home.
The Riders remain on the road for their next fixture, taking on the London Lions on April 7.