The Riders won a hard-fought battle against the Caledonia Gladiators 96-90 last night, moving their record to 8-10 in the British Basketball League Championship.
Here’s how the Riders reacted to the victory…
Teddy Allen- “There’s definitely more to come.”
Teddy Allen exploded onto the British basketball scene with the highest-scoring debut in the League since 2016.
He scored 32 points, including a clutch three late to put the Riders up five with a minute left.
“I’m happy to get the win with my new team,” said Allen post-game. “My teammates were looking for me, telling me to look for the basket and that helped me to succeed. I’m grateful for them.”
It was Allen’s first competitive action since August, but you’d have been forgiven for not noticing. He hit the ground running with a 14-point second quarter, coming off the bench and making an immediate impact.
Any concerns of rust were washed away quickly for Riders fans.
“I had to keep my mind and my body right through the last few months, and for that I thank God, but there’s definitely more to come from me.
“My legs felt better than I thought they would. I’m a hooper, so it feels good to be playing in front of people again.”
Rob Paternostro- “We were deserved winners”
It had been a difficult run of games for the Riders going into last night’s fixture. Having played the League’s top two teams in their last three games (the table-topping Lions’ twice), they were in need of a win to get back on track.
Emerging victors of a nail-biter was important for this group.
“That was fun!” said Head Coach Rob Paternostro after the win. “Playing a tight ball game in the fourth quarter and coming up with the big plays was fun to watch. The crowd was into it, and we were deserved winners tonight.”
The Riders gave up 51 to the Gladiators in the first half, and found themselves down 13 in the third quarter. But they flipped a switch on offence and came back for the win.
“We went into halftime knowing we were going to have to play some defence at some point. We did pick it up in the third quarter, and that turned the game around.
“We then did a great job in making plays late, and we had Teddy Buckets on our team today! He put on a show today.”
As he did everybody else in the building, Allen impressed his head coach with his ability to immediately find form in Riders red.
“One thing I know, having been around the game this long, is that there are certain guys that when the lights turn on, they’re ready to go.
“When he took the floor in warm-ups, he said he was feeling good. He was special. He did a great job in finding other guys too, and the rest of the guys dug in on the defensive end.”
Allen was supported by his captain, Kimbal Mackenzie, who scored 11 in the first quarter and 19 in the game, and big man Sam Idowu who made his presence felt in the paint all evening.
Paternostro sang the praises of his duo:
“I really thought Sam played well today. He played with lots of energy on both ends of the floor, and his competitiveness was a big factor tonight.
“Kimbal was solid too. He came out tonight with 19 after a few quiet games recently, and that was great to see.
“I feel really good about these guys. They work hard and they work together, and Teddy provided something extra for us tonight to get us the win.”
Sam Idowu- “We fought through adversity.”
Idowu put up 14 points and six rebounds, going 7-12 from the field in a solid showing. He battled all night on the glass and on the defensive end in the post.
“It was a lot of hard work. My body’s sore!” said Idowu. “I’m proud of the team, we fought together and came through a lot of adversity and played hard from wire to wire.”
The New York-born big man came up with a huge stop in the clutch again Clifton Moore Jr to give the Riders a chance to seal the game late. He reflected on his individual performance:
“I think I played way better than I have been playing! I was just trying to find a rhythm. I had a good week of practice, so I’ve been trying to follow that up with some good games. I’m keeping my energy up, keeping in shape and staying healthy. That’s my biggest priority right now.”
With a road trip to Manchester coming on the 23rd, Iwodu spoke on how the team can build on the performance.
“Today was a big win. We had a tough schedule and taken a couple of tough losses, but it showed our resilience here in how determined we were to turn it around.
“It’s good for us to show we can come from behind to win. We can go into future games knowing we can stay confident when we’re down, so I’m glad we were able to pull through.”
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