The big men dominate as Leicester Riders win the BBL Trophy semi-final first leg on the road at London Lions.
BBL Trophy, Semi-Final, 1st Leg
London Lions 81 – 90 Leicester Riders (26-26, 47-48, 63-68)
It’s advantage Leicester Riders in the BBL Trophy semi-finals after they beat London Lions 90-81 in the first leg at the Copper Box Arena, before the teams meet in the decider at Leicester Arena on Friday.
Despite historical league games between these sides being almost evenly split, Riders now hold a 14-3 record over Lions in the Trophy. DBL Sharks Sheffield await the winner at Emirates Arena in Glasgow, as Riders defend the silverware they have won in each of the last two seasons.
Leading scorers – Robinson 25, Ikhinmwin 14, Peel 11 (Lions); Wright 18, Hampton 16, Holder 16 (Riders)
Turning point – Trailing 59-57 in the third quarter, TrayVonn Wright hit back-to-back three-pointers for Riders to spark what became a 17-4 surge over the fourth quarter break, Pierre Hampton adding four at the start of the final period to give the visitors a double-digit advantage at 74-63.
Key stat – Riders shot 68% on the inside, missing just 10 of their 32 shots as no player missed more than two all game. JR Holder and Pierre Hampton were both 6-8 on their way to 16 points apiece. Riders also shot 82% on their 23 free-throw attempts, with those again dominated by the bigs.
Game hero – TrayVonn Wright scored 18 points on 63% shooting in just 22 minutes, including key baskets in their crucial runs: there were seven points in a row – including a triple and an alley-oop – to put them in front in the first half, as well as sparking the decisive run above.