BBL: Riders still unbeaten after big win live on Sky Sports

Leicester Riders remain the only unbeaten team in defence of their BBL Championship title after comprehensively beating Newcastle Eagles 101-72 at the Morningside Arena live on Sky Sports.

Leicester were dominant throughout and won all four quarters, Geno Crandall scoring 20 of his game-high 22 points in the first half, while Marc Loving added 14 points, all in the second half, with eight rebounds and seven assists.

Riders hit an early 11-2 run, started by a Crandall three-pointer and capped by his big dunk in transition, and another triple gave Riders a double-digit lead at 23-13. That advantage was only extended in the second stanza as Crandall hit a trio of threes in little over a minute as part of an 11-0 burst that made the score 47-25, and the reigning Molten BBL Player of the Season hit five first half triples in his 20 points before the break.

It looked as though a comeback might be possible early in the third quarter, only for Marc Loving to halt any thought of that as he scored 12 points in three minutes to make the score 68-46, in what became a 20-4 run overall as the lead reached thirty points.

There was no way back for Newcastle, who suffered a second defeat in a row and slip to a 4-4 league record.

There were a pair of home wins in the BBL Championship on Sunday, as Cheshire Phoenix and Glen Luss Glasgow Rocks ensured that things tightened up in the middle of the league table.

At the Emirates Arena, Rocks moved to 4-3 and closed the gap on the fourth-placed Bristol Flyers with an 87-84 victory that made it eight straight home wins – three of those over Bristol – dating back to September.

The teams were never separated by more than two shots in a tight first half, until early in the third quarter when Rocks broke a tie with a surge of 13 unanswered points, started and ended by Ali Fraser as he scored five of those, to make the score 61-48 as Flyers were scoreless for nearly five minutes.

The lead reached a peak of 73-58 when Jordan Johnson finished the third period with an ‘and-one’ play as he scored 11 of his game-high 28 in the quarter, completing a double-double with 13 assists on the night.

But Rocks had to dig in late on as Flyers initially got back to within two shots inside the final two minutes on a Raphell Thomas-Edwards triple – his fourth among 23 points – following a 17-6 spell. There was an immediate response in kind from Gareth Murray, and that proved to be enough to hold off the visitors despite a nervy finish.

In support of Johnson, Jordan Harris finished the night with 22 points, eight rebounds, six assists and six steals.

Elsewhere, Cheshire improved to 2-6 with a big 120-69 win over a depleted Plymouth City Patriots at Ellesmere Port Sports Village, with seven players scoring in double-figures led by a double-double of 21 points and 10 assists off the bench from Larry Austin Jr.

Phoenix led from tip-to-buzzer and scored the first seven points in just over a minute, Noah Dickerson scoring four in that run and capping it with a dunk, before the start became 17-3 when Ben Mockford added consecutive scores.

Patriots fought back to get as close as two shots at 22-18 as Kofi Josephs hit a trio of three-pointers in his 11 first quarter points.

But Josh McSwiggan’s buzzer-beater ended the first period, and the momentum was with the hosts as Austin Jr. scored six early points in the second stanza, and the lead was back in double-figures at 39-24 on back-to-back triples from Namon Wright and Kyle Carey.

From there they were never threatened, as Cheshire won the third period 28-8 and opened the fourth with the first 10 points, with McSwiggan finishing on 17 and Dickerson posting a double-double of 15 points and 15 boards.