Riders see off Scorchers

The Riders improve to 14-6 in the BBL Championship after a 99-77 win against the Surrey Scorchers. 

Marc Loving led the game with 21 to steer the Riders to the win, in a game where five Leicester players scored double-digit points. His efforts were backed by 20 points from his wing partner Zach Jackson, who went off for 20. 

It was a one-point affair midway through the second period before the Riders blew the game open with a 13-2 run. They shot a red-hot 42% from three and 50% from the field, after entering the game leading the BBL in both categories.

It was the first appearance in Leicester for point guard Carrington Love, who impressed with eight points and five assists off the bench. His three-point shooting and playmaking added a different dimension to the Riders’ offence, as he looks to settle into the second half of the season.

The win makes it 38 games undefeated in all competitions against the Scorchers for the Riders. Padiet Wang and Jalen Ray combined for 13 each for the visitors, who cut the game to nine early in the fourth.

But the Scorchers could not contain the Riders’ offence, who bounced back to seal the win. 

After scoring 18 points in the first half of the previous meeting between the sides, Surrey’s leading scorer on the season Wang went off to start the game, scoring the first seven Scorchers points. 

The Riders fought back, taking the lead midway through the first with back-to-back threes from Jackson and Loving. The dynamic duo led the team with seven points each in the first quarter. 

The Riders held a narrow lead until the end of the period, as new man Love drained a three on the buzzer to make it 23-17 to the hosts. 

Love carried the momentum into the second period, hitting from midrange to get another two on the board. But the Scorchers had the best of the early stages of the quarter, bringing their deficit to one point after a jam from Wang. 

Whelan hit back, finding his from deep to make two threes, making it a nine-point game four minutes from halftime. The Riders commenced a 13-2 run following Whelan’s first three to jump out to their first significant lead of the game. 

Love concluded the quarter yet again, drawing a foul on a three before making two shots at the line. He finished the half with eight points in six minutes off the bench in his first Riders home game, as the hosts entered the locker rooms up 51-41. 

Leicester continued their hot deep shooting form to start the second half, as Whelan and Loving knocked down their first attempts to stretch the lead. The Riders controlled the game with their advantage, getting to the rim to win the third 28-21 to make it a 17-point game. 

The Scorchers came out hot in the final period, starting 8-0 after two Kyle Carey threes to cut the game to nine. 

But the Riders seized back control, as Kimbal Mackenzie scored five straight to rebuild the lead, hitting his second three of the game. 

Leicester responded to Surrey’s surge with a 10-3 run, to leave the result in little doubt. 

Next up, the Riders host BBL Trophy action, taking on the Sheffield Sharks in the quarter-final. The game takes place on Febuary 10th, tipping off at 7:45 pm.