Leicester Riders were beaten 90-77 by Bakken Bears in a punishing return to European competition.

No huge surprise against the Danish champions, who will feel mightily confident of advancing into the second qualifying round of the Basketball Champions League following Saturday’s return leg in Aarhus.

The hosts never led. Never could quite gain early momentum. Never could overcome the loss of Pierre Hampton to injury and a late roster re-shuffle. It took a precious late spurt to provide a glimmer of hope. Maybe not enough.

None of which undermines the Riders tag as favourites to retain their British Basketball League title, with the likely adjunct of additional games in the fourth-tier FIBA Europe Cup should they exit this competition.

And coach Rob Paternostro’s gamble to start late signing DeAndre Burnett paid off with a game-high 24 points as he injected the additional scoring that was felt a requisite following the pre-season.

Relying on an efficient outside threat, Leicester trailed 26-23 after an impressive opening period but their challenge fell away, held to just 12 points in the second as Bakken pulled 49-35 clear at half-time.

Eight unanswered points in third established the Bears supremacy beyond doubt with their interior play proving hard to resist.

And although the Riders admirably refused to buckle and aggressively injected a 10-0 run in the fourth, an uphill task still awaits them on their travels.

Hayden Dalton led the Danes on 17 points.












Game Stats

Photos: Mansoor Ahmed

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • MySpace
  • Print

You must be logged in to post a comment Login