BBL: RIDERS PAW LIONS TO KEEP UP CHASE

Leicester Riders kept up the pressure on BBL Championship leaders Newcastle Eagles with a stunning 99-96 win at Milton Keynes Lions.

The Riders trailed 96-93 with 71 seconds remaining but two Cameron Rundles three-pointers down the stretch were enough to give Rob Paternostro’s side victory.

Newcastle chalked up their seventh consecutive BBL Championship victory as they scored the first 21 points of the game in a 94-69 victory against Durham Wildcats, on Friday night. It took six minutes for the Wildcats to trouble the scorers, and by then the game was beyond them. Joe Chapman led all scorers for Eagles with 24 points and they remain two wins clear at the top of the table.

Meanwhile, Worcester Wolves kept up their title challenge with a 94-86 victory against a stubborn Lions team on Saturday night. An impressive performance by Carlos Fernandez proved the difference between the two teams as the Spaniard finished with 18 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. Lions trailed by 12 at the first break but fought back to remain in contention until the final quarter when Paul James’ team pulled away.

Wolves’ coach James was understandably delighted with the win: “It’s always hard playing against Lions. They play scruffy and try to intimidate you but I felt that we managed to keep our heads in this game. This was another fantastic win for us.”

Plymouth Raiders also remain in contention for the title as they came-from-behind to defeat hosts Mersey Tigers 83-73 on Friday evening. After a slow start, Tigers led at both half-time and the final break, but an 11-1 burst to open the fourth period put Gavin Love’s team in charge and they never trailed again. Jeremy Bell again led all scorers with 24 points in the win for the Raiders,

Friday’s other game saw Sheffield keep their post-season hopes alive with an 87-78 home win against play-off rivals Guildford Heat. With Ryan Patton – replacing Justin Dobbins – returning to the Sharks with 14 points, the home side led for most of the game but it wasn’t until the final minutes that they finally sealed the win. Jimmy Langhurst led all scorers in the game with 26 points for the Sharks, while Andrew Lasker led the Heat with 24 points.

Finally, Cheshire Jets claimed a fantastic 80-78 road win in Glasgow after launching an astonishing rescue mission to fight back from 19 points down in the second half.

Rocks scored nine of the first ten points of the third quarter to lead 52-33 but were outscored 27-8 during the remainder of the period as Jets started their comeback, and tied the game at 60 going into the final break. Adam Brown – who led all scorers with 26 points – hit four free-throws down the stretch as Jets sealed a thrilling win.

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