Leicester Riders delay Newcastle’s title celebration further

There was a dramatic finish on Tuesday night in Loughborough after Leicester Riders claimed a nerve-tingling 66-63 success against Worcester Wolves to extend the title race for at least another 24 hours.

In a roller-coaster contest, Tyler Bernardini finally settled the duel with a killer score from downtown during the closing moments, prior to Pavol Losonsky showing he has nerves of steel with two from the line in the last couple of seconds.

Defeat would have handed the BBL Championship to Newcastle Eagles, but Leicester showed real guts as they held their nerve down the stretch, having not only lost the influential Neil Watson to injury, but also TrayVonn Wright to foul trouble for long periods.

Having only just shaded the first-half of action, Riders had been rocked onto the back foot when Paul Guede started the third quarter with back-to-back triples for the visitors.

Both sides then had shares of the lead and it set up a dramatic conclusion, but the defence of Riders came up trumps as well as the shooting of Bernardini.

The hosts restricted the Wolves to just one basket in the last 3 minutes and 40 seconds of the game, which gave them the platform to sneak a priceless victory.

Losonsky recorded a near double-double of 15 points and nine rebounds, while Bernardini finished with 22 points and an unwanted double-double of 10 turnovers – but none of that mattered when he hit what proved to the game-winning shot.

Wolves’ centre Robert Thurman had 11 points and 12 boards.

Riders must now wait to see if Newcastle Eagles clinch the title on Wednesday night when the defending champions face Manchester Giants at Sport Central.

BBL