LEICESTER RIDERSLeicester Riders needed overtime to beat Manchester Giants 80-78 on Sunday afternoon as the Midlands outfit moved to within one victory of securing the British Basketball League title.

Jay Cousinard hit a late three-pointer to level at 69-69 to force the extra period and he was again the hero as the Riders – minus Zaire Taylor and Jorge Calvo – came from behind in OT, hitting another three to take his tally to a game-high 31 points as the visitors snatched victory.

It means Leicester can wrap up their first ever championship next Saturday when they host Durham Wildcats but it could even be secured as soon as Tuesday, if rivals Newcastle Eagles were to lose at Worcester.

Darius Defoe hit 26 points as the reigning champions beat Mersey Tigers 92-69 to prolong the race for another 52 hours at least.

It leaves Mersey with the longest ever losing streak within a single season of 31.

Elsewhere, Cheshire Phoenix’s play-off hopes sustained a knock as they lost 98-92 to Plymouth Raiders.

Javarris Barnett had 28 points for Plymouth who had to withstand a late rally from their hosts.

Saturday: Leicester close in on title

Leicester Riders moved to the brink of their first-ever British Basketball League title on Saturday night with an 84-71 win over Glasgow Rocks.

It means the long-time leaders will move within one victory from the championship if they beat Manchester Giants on Sunday afternoon, even if rivals Newcastle defeat Mersey.

They ripped Glasgow apart with a 16-3 run in the third quarter after the Rocks trailed 40-37 at half-time.

And with Great Britain captain Drew Sullivan notching a game-high 24 points, the Riders pulled as much as 72-49 clear with seven minutes left.


Elsewhere, Manchester kept their slim play-off hopes alive with a shock 91-82 victory at Worcester Wolves.

29 points from David Watts was the leading mark for the Giants, but it was Alex Owumi’s 30 points for the home side that was the game-high scoring mark for the Wolves.The Giants had trailed early in the contest at 19-13, but they fought their way back in the second quarter and a 15-2 burst allowed the visitors to break the game open and take the score out to 27-40.

The Wolves tried to get themselves back into the game, but were unable to do so to any significant degree as the Giants held on for the all-important victory.

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