Leicester Riders will enjoy their Christmas after completing a 76-64 home success over battling Bristol Flyers as they finished strongly to consolidate second place in the BBL standings.
Searching for a maiden success against their hosts, Bristol had remained firmly in contention for much of the contest – the wheels only coming off during the closing minutes as Riders’ depth began to show.
Flyers had initially jumped out onto Riders and opened up a 20-9 lead, which gave an indication that Riders wouldn’t have it their own way.
Even when Leicester belatedly got into a rhythm via Great Britain veteran Drew Sullivan who finished with 18 points, Bristol still kept pace.
They were level at 32-32 heading to the locker rooms at the interval and then found themselves back in the ascendancy when the action resumed.
The impressive Cardell McFarland fired from behind the three-point line and helped his team move 43-39 ahead – although Riders then outscored their opponents 14-4 across the third and fourth quarter break, to move 53-47 in front.
While a triple by Greg Streete kept Flyers in contention when it was still only a one-shot game at 63-60, the athletic TrayVonn Wright began to take flight for Riders.
Some trademark dunks illuminated a powerful 13-4 finish to the game in the closing minutes, as Riders wrapped up a hard-fought victory.
Neil Watson handed out nine assists for the winning team, while Tyrone Lee had a double-double 17 points and 11 rebounds in defeat.