Leicester Riders acquired the BBL Cup for a third time with a 83-69 win over Manchester Giants.

Riding the waves to see off a potential challenge from Lloyd Gardner’s men and a franchise appearing in a first major final since it was re-born in 2012.

Yet Geno Crandall, as he has been so often, was irresistible with a game-high 26 points and another MVP honour.

And he loomed large in a 16-4 run to close the second period at ArenaBirmingham which swung the pendulum just enough out of the Giants reach despite a tenacious push in the second half.

“I thought it was a credit to the work we put in during the week,” Crandall said. “As players you feed off the crowd, I was playing to our crowd and getting them into it myself and our guys feed off from that.
“We’re a team that is extremely consistent and over the course of the 40 minutes we have the ability to put teams away.”

Manchester had hoped for more when they surged 18-9 in front early in the opening quarter.

A false dawn though.

Up 45-28 at half-time, Leicester had enough breathing space even when the runs came and they held their nerve.

Although Riders converted just 4-19 from three-point range, Kimball Mackenzie hit two in the fourth – the American converting 14 of his 15 points in the period – and that turned the key in the lock.

And even as Giants desperately ran and ran, the door was eventually bolted shut.

It made it five victories in finals in succession for Riders head coach Rob Paternostro, the first leg of a possible treble for the league leaders.

“I thought from the second quarter our defence locked them up,” he said. “Even if you don’t shoot particularly well you can be strong defensively and I thought those guys did a great job. The second quarter we only gave up eight points and I think that’s what got us in front.
“From the first day got in we looked round and thought we’ve got some talent, some real professionals in our camp.”

Live Stats


Rob Hickman broke a tie by refereeing a record fifth Cup final, with that stat also including the old National Cup as well as the BBL iteration.

Photos: Ahmedphotos

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