BBL Cup South Group
Surrey Scorchers 89-94 Leicester Riders (17-16, 37-48, 64-73)
(Scorchers – Ogedengbe 19, Lawrence 17, Davis Jr. 12; Riders – Crandall 27, Jackson 15, Whelan 14)
You’d think there wouldn’t be much more history the Leicester Riders and their legendary Head Coach Rob Paternostro could make by now given their incredible success in recent years, but the reigning champions saw their play-caller secure another major milestone this evening, as he bagged his 400th win as a BBL Head Coach.
It wasn’t an easy win by any stretch for the Riders, however, as their opponents – the Surrey Scorchers – showed exactly why one of their star guards, Stanley Davis Jr, has so much confidence that this year could be one where the club win some silverware, as they gave the Riders a real fight in this fixture.
A hot start for Tayo Ogedengbe – who had 10 of Surrey’s 17 in the first quarter – proved a nice springboard for the home side to start the game from, as he carried the Scorchers to a slender lead at the end of the first quarter, where the Riders had shot a dreadful 1-9 from two-point range.
Whatever the milestone-making Paternostro said to his team between those first and second quarters clearly had the desired effect, however, as they came out and scorched Surrey in the opening exchanges of the second period with a 10-3 run, giving the Riders real confidence to power through to the break with an 11-point lead in tow.
As reigning MVP Geno Crandall had heated up in the second quarter for the visitors to help inspire them to that double-digit lead, it was two leading guards from the home side that came to life in the second half as Davis Jr and Great Britain’s Andrew Lawrence found their rhythm to give Surrey hope.
It wasn’t to be Creon Raftopoulos’ night, though. Whenever his side got close enough to the Riders on the scoreboard to have the visitors looking over their shoulders, crucial plays would go against them and although the Scorchers pulled it back to a one-possession game in the last 30 seconds, foul trouble and the crafty Crandall struck to help the Riders see out a slender, hard-fought win.