Friday 4th January 2019

BBL Championship

DBL Sharks Sheffield 69 Leicester Riders 90

Leicester Riders gained a measure of revenge for their earlier 71-70 home defeat at the hands of the Sharks with a sizeable turnaround at the EIS. The Sharks battled gamely in the first half but succumbed to the Riders bench depth in the second to go 10-6 for the season overall.

Starting Fives

Sharks: Tuck, Marsden, Alexander, Williams, Collins

Riders: Gamble, Douse, Holder, Burnett, Martin W

Key Moments

Both sides fought out a tight, high-scoring first quarter. JR Holder’s three put Leicester up by 4-8 in the early stages but a Dirk Williams reply after a through the legs assist from Anthony Collins, saw the sides tied at 17-17. Chris Alexander put the Sharks in front with an ‘and one’ play but typically, Pierre Hampton immediately followed suit. Deandre Burnett gave the Riders the lead with just seven seconds to play but Mike Tuck concluded the opening stanza at 28-28 on the buzzer.

The second quarter was equally open but Leicester just managed to steal a march on the Sharks. Burnett opened proceedings with another triple and to emphasise their strength in depth, the Riders replaced all five players mid-way through the period. Three’s from Washington and Gamble gave Leicester an eight point advantage at 39-47 and it was left to Rob Marsden to keep the Sharks in touch. A drive from JR Holder ended an entertaining half however, Leicester with their noses in front at 43-51.

The lack of personnel for the Sharks and the depth of the Riders roster took its toll in the third quarter. Holder forced the Sharks into a mid-stanza timeout at 49-61 as another big trey from Dirk Williams attempted to cling on to their coat tails with the score at 54-67. Just two more points followed as Thomson (3) and Hampton (2) ended the quarter at 56-72.

A failure to record any bench points hurt the Sharks hard as the reigning champions pulled away to a 21 point victory. Conner Washington connected on three big scores from distance to kill the game at 62-86 and it was a Rob Marsden putback that ended the encounter with the score at 69-90.

MVP

The Sharks starting five contributed all their points on a night where they were clearly lacking personnel once again. Anthony Collins went with 7 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists in an attempt to kick start his team on offence, aided by Chris Alexander with 15 points and 5 assists. There was a combative display from Rob Marsden, who top scored with 20 points and 4 rebounds but the award on the night went the way of Dirk Williams. Despite receiving close attention from the Riders all evening, he still managed to find his way to 19 points with 5 rebounds. Consecutive defeats sees the Sharks looking to regroup ahead of the visit of bottom side Worcester Wolves next Friday.

Quotes

Atiba Lyons shared the belief that the depth of Leicester and the lack of production from his own bench had proved crucial to the final result.

Next home game

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Kieran Kenney