GAME REPORT: Rocks force top of the table Riders to leave it late

Leicester Riders 93 – 67 Glasgow Rocks

Match Report by Alan Caldwell

A tough battle down the stretch between the Glasgow Rocks and the BBL’s top seeded team the Leicester Riders, however, it is the Riders who ultimately come away with the home win, despite a better scoring second and third quarter from the Rocks.

The first quarter started off at a slower pace than normal, with both teams missing shots early on, however, it was the Riders who got off to the better start as they scored the first two baskets of the game before Jonny Bunyan hit his first three of the night and put Glasgow on the scoreboard for tonight’s contest.

Leicester, currently top of the BBL where showing exactly why this was the case, as they opened up the first quarter outscoring Glasgow 11-5 after Isa Brandon finished at the rim to give the Rocks their second basket of the night.

The lead continued to grow early on for Leicester as Heron made a three pointer to give him a quick seven points in the quarter which helped put his team up 16-7, however, this lead was cut down just seconds later after Fraser Malcolm hit his first three of the night, showing real conviction in his shooting compared to earlier in the season.

Despite this, it was Leicester who continued to stay hot, Washington hit a three pointer before a familiar face to the Rocks, Ali Fraser hit a short jumper to put the Riders up by 14. Things only got worse for the Rocks from then on as Heron hit his second three pointer of the game to already give him 14 points after the first quarter and put his team up 34-13.

The second quarter started off much better for the Rocks as David Mpondo coming off the bench showed great explosiveness to get to the rim twice, finishing with a dunk, then a layup. The energy brought from Mpondo seemed to rub off on the other Rocks players as Jonny Bunyan started off the quarter hitting two three pointers which helped cut the Leicester lead back down to 15.

Things seemed to get better for the Rocks from here on as a Van Sauers layup and Leicester foul trouble sending Mpondo and Malcolm to the line, again cut down the Riders lead to just 11 as Glasgow out scored Leicester 16-6 in the first four minutes of the second quarter.

Going into the interval, the Rocks continued to claw back at the Leicester lead as Marc Kwedi hit his first three pointer of the game which was followed up by Fraser Malcolm, hitting his second three of the night to help cut the Riders lead down to just nine on the contest as they lead 51-42 at halftime.

Into the second half, the Rocks confidence continued to grow as Julius Van Sauers made a short jump shot then finished at the rim with an easy layup to give him four quick points at the start of the third quarter which again cut the Leicester lead down to just five in the game.

The Rocks now right back in this after a disappointing first quarter, it was Jonny Bunyan who found himself with time and space on the three point line so he let it fly, hitting his fourth three of the game, however, a Leicester three of their own put them back up by seven as they looked to hold on to their lead in the game.

The baskets started to slow down for both teams going into the final quarter as Leicester lead by ten with three minutes to go in the third quarter. The fluidity from both teams offence had gone completely in the third, however, a late Jonny Bunyan three meant the Rocks out scored the Riders by 12-10 in the entirety of the third quarter, but it was Leicester who still lead the ball game 61-54 going into the fourth quarter.

All to play for in the fourth quarter and the game still in the balance, Boban Jacdonmi bullied his way into the lane, getting the layup to drop as he looked to bounce back from the early foul trouble he had in this contest.

Despite this, it was the Riders who upped their intensity as Ali Fraser continued to show out against his old team, scoring four quick points which helped his team get off to an 11-2 run at the start of the fourth quarter.

This run extended the Leicester lead back out to 16 in the game, making it very difficult for the Rocks to comeback now, however it wasn’t without fight at Fraser Malcolm hit a long three pointer, making his third of the game.

Leicester finished the game on a scoring flurry as they out scored the Rocks 32-13 in the fourth quarter, winning the game 93-67, despite Glasgow’s second and third quarter comeback.

Four Rocks players finished with double-digit scoring including a team high 15 from captain Jonny Bunyan and 13 from David Mpondo, who’s continued to show his skills after coming back from injury.

Next up for the Rocks is the last game of the season on Sunday at the Emirates Arena, where they will take on the London Lions for a 3pm tip-off.

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