The Eagles (6-4) continued their playoff push, with their third straight win at home against a well organised, solid Leicester Riders team (2-8).
The game started at a frantic pace, which would continue throughout. The Eagles got on the board twice without reply to get themselves going. Both teams were playing hard with neither really able to dominate in what was a scrappy period of basketball. The home side would end it up 5. (16-11)
The visitors opened up the second quarter with a 6-0 run to give them their first lead of the game. A timeout was called by the home side to halt the run. The Eagles came out of the timeout with two unanswered scores to retake the lead, a position they would keep for the remainder of the half. The home side eventually took the quarter by 1, with the teams heading into the locker rooms at half time with the score at 30-24 (14-13).
The scoring would come in bunches for both sides in the third quarter. The Eagles would get the first score of the half before the Riders would go on a 7-0 run to bring them back within one. Both teams exchanged scores before an 8-0 Eagles run would stretch their lead to 9. The College was starting to rock with huge noise from the Eagles bench and supporters. This energy would carry the Eagles into the last period up 11, 46-35 (16-11).
The noise would continue into the fourth with the Eagles really starting to spread their wings, extending their lead out to 19 inside the first 4 minutes of the quarter. This run allowed the home side to take their starters off the floor and give an extended run to some of the supporting cast. Leicester would show their resilience however doing their best to chip away at the big Eagles lead. It was a very scrappy last few minutes by the home side but they did enough to take the game by 12, 71-59 (25-24).
Eagles Coach, James Anderson said: “It wasn’t the prettiest performance today but we had some good spells in the third and fourth. Leicester are very well organised on the defensive end and they’ve got some talented bigs. They are a very resilient group, which we saw at their place and we saw it again today. We have got to strive to be more consistent if we are to be really serious about challenging with the top 2 in the division. The two big pluses for me today were that we shot 13-17 from the free throw line, by far our best percentage of the season, it’s something we have focused a lot on improving. We also won every quarter today for the first time this season which I think shows the improvements we are making.
Top scorers for The Eagles were Xie (17), Leperrier (13) and Sheeran (10).