Leicester Riders 116 (28,60,87) (Hassan 29, Washington 17, Bernardini 14)
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 84 (23,50,71) (Lasker 22, Fletcher 16, Matthew 15)
Leicester Riders finished the BBL Championship season with a 116-84 defeat of league champions Esh Group Eagles Newcastle. The Riders posted their highest tally of the season in an exciting game between the league’s two top scoring teams, both of which already had their position in the table secure.
It was also the most points any team has put on the Eagles, who have lost back-to-back games for the first time in this campaign.
Riders are now unbeaten in eight home games, but this was their first win against the Eagles in five, having raced out of the blocks in with Jamell Anderson and Conner Washington hitting two three-pointers each to send the score out to 22-8 early on.
But Rahmon Fletcher scored seven points as Eagles responded 13-1, before Washington hit from long range again for a 28-23 first quarter lead for the hosts.
Fletcher added another triple early in the second stanza to tie the game at 28, and when Drew Lasker did the same soon after, the Eagles took their first lead at 30-33. They held that for five minutes, until the hosts posted the decisive run just before the half.
Rashad Hassan tied the game at 46, and Tyler Bernardini hit his second triple in quick succession in what became a 14-4 finish to the half, capped by another Bernardini three-pointer for a Riders lead of 60-50.
And the closest that the Eagles would get in the second half was six points, as Eddie Matthew and Charles Smith scored three-pointers. But Yorick Williams scored consecutive baskets, before Trayvon Wright added six points in a 14-2 run, and the Riders led 87-69, from where they were never threatened.
They went through the century with five minutes to play, on a night when Hassan led the scoring with 29 points and 8 rebounds. It was Leicester’s biggest win against Newcastle in 112 meetings, beating their 31 point victory in November 1994.