The home side made a great start to the game as they remained in the lead from the first bucket until half-way through the second-quarter – which saw a switch of momentum that belonged with the visitors more.
However, the restart saw the Scottish side come right back at their opponents as they dominated the backboards and took advantage of second-chance points more so than the Giants, who scored 11 points less in total after getting an offensive rebound.
Alasdair Fraser (24), Jordan Johnson (24) and Jaycee Hillsman (21) all made significant contributions to the Rocks’ total, which combined was just over 70% of the team’s entire haul – while fellow starters Jordan Harris (17) and Coach Gareth Murray (14) also were in fine form offensively.
Dan Clark did provide the Giants with a flicker of hope on a number on occasions as his double-double of 23 points and joint-game high of 11 rebounds was crucial in helping to give his team a best possible chance in the second-leg.
Leicester Riders were left stunned by London Lions this evening in their BBL Cup Semi-Final First Leg as Vince Macaulay’s team came back from a 23-point deficit to ensure that their opponents will have just a three point lead in the second leg.
It was another thrilling encounter between two of Britain’s biggest basketball powerhouses at the Copper Box Arena, but with the reverse tie taking place at the Morningside Arena in Leicester, the Riders still have a three-point head start in that deciding game at the end of the month.
Patrick Whelan played an important role in giving the Riders the victory, scoring 25 points with a field goal accuracy of 81% – while Geno Crandall once again put up a double-double, scoring 11 points and setting up ten buckets for his teammates.
Meanwhile, Dirk Williams and Lorenzo Cugini were inspirational in what appeared to be damage limitation efforts from the Lions before sparking their comeback, as they combined for 46 of their team’s points.
Up in the North-West, the Sky Sports cameras captured a fast-paced thriller between Manchester Giants and Glasgow Rocks, but the latter fell short in each quarter on the road.
Staying strong defensively particularly in the second-half, the Giants were led by Tyrik Armstrong in points (21) and assists (9), Dan Clark in rebounds (13) and blocks (3) and Jamell Anderson in steals (4) but each player on the roster played their part in the victory including Will Saunders who punished the Rocks particularly from behind the line with 18 points of his own.
Alasdair Fraser and Jordan Harris dropped 18 points each for the Rocks, while Jordan Johnson and Jaycee Hillsman also reached double-figures for points.
Finally, the Newcastle Eagles succumbed to an in-form Bristol Flyers team who are now 4-1 in the Championship, as they continue to look like a much-improved side from last season.
The Flyers were absolutely dominant on the backboards, grabbing 19 more than their opponents as Trejon Jacob (13), Marcus Delpeche (13) and Raphell Thomas-Edwards (11) all reached double-figures for rebounds, while Jacob and Delpeche earned double-doubles as they scored 20 and 11 points respectively.
Corey Johnson led in scoring for the Eagles with 13, with Duke Shelton following just behind with 12, but the Eagles only managed to score 18 points in the paint compared to their opponents, who managed an impressive 46.