Leicester Riders have a date with the Newcastle Eagles after booking their place in the BBL Trophy final.
Already carrying a 17-point advantage from the first leg, the Riders were able to keep the Lions at bay throughout Sunday’s game, building a double-digit lead in the second half to win 91-81, and 171-144 on aggregate.
Riders Tyler Bernardini hit six three-pointers in his game-high 24 points, TrayVonn Wright had 22, while Lions’ Zaire Taylor had 23 in a losing effort.
In the league, Sheffield Sharks enjoyed the result of the weekend after they won 79-70 at the in-form Bristol Flyers, to move joint-eighth with the Manchester Giants.
The Sharks had lost five league games in a row and dropped outside the playoff spots, while the Flyers were on a tear after winning four straight.
The Sharks used an 11-1 run late in the first quarter to take a 22-13 lead and never looked back, leading by as many 16 points at one stage, behind a game-high 28 points from Mike Cook.
“It was a great win for us,” said Sharks’ Mike Tuck, who finished with 19 points.
“Bristol is a high-energy team that plays well at home so we knew we had to come out and match their intensity.
“Every game remaining in the championship is important for us now. This win will give us some much-needed confidence heading into the next few weeks.”
Plymouth Raiders came mighty close to a big win on Friday before succumbing to an 86-85 defeat at Worcester Wolves.
After leading for a lot of the first half and only trailing by one with seconds remaining, Raiders’ Pierre Hampton, who led all scorers with 27 points, missed a shot that would have given his side the win.
“Plymouth can shoot, everyone knows that,” said Wolves Rob Thurman, who had 22 points and 10 rebounds.
“They have got seven or eight guys that can score from behind the arc and they really lit it up in the first half.”
He added, “We came out in the second half and locked down defensively, and they only scored 11 in the third quarter, but we got stagnant on shot selection and allowed them to stay around.”
Thurman felt a key player in getting the Wolves the win was Jamal Williams.
“He was big for us, he had 15 points and 16 rebounds,” said Thurman.
“That’s a huge stat line and if he has games like that the rest of the year, we will not lose a game.”
It wasn’t as close on Sunday as the Raiders lost their second game of the weekend, going down 102-84 at Cheshire Phoenix, with the Chester-based side winning every quarter.
Three Phoenix players would finish the game with double-doubles. Taylor King led the way with 28 points and 15 rebounds, ably supported by David Aliu (24 points and 14 rebounds) and Demond Watt (18 and 15).
Finally, Newcastle pushed their current winning streak to 13 games in all competitions with a 94-68 victory at Leeds Force, Darius Defoe leading the Eagles with 18 points and 10 rebounds.