Leicester Riders have maintained their BBL Championship title charge with another winning weekend completed on Saturday night as they beat Bristol Flyers 90-52, to make it six league wins in a row and victories in consecutive nights.
Riders got to work early in this game as Trevor Gruis scored their first six points and Conner Washington – in the absence of starting point guard and leading scorer Neil Watson – hit a three-pointer. But it was the impact of Drew Sullivan (7) and Shane Walker (9) from the bench that made the difference as they combined for 16 points, and Riders scored the last ten points of the first quarter to lead 30-13, shooting 8/12 free-throws in the first ten minutes.
Flyers scored just once in six minutes, and have now not beaten Riders in any of their six BBL meetings having been restricted to fewer than 70 points in all of those games against the league’s best defence. And that was the tone for much of the rest of the game, Flyers shooting just 31% and committing 19 turnovers.
Tyler Bernardini opened the second stanza with a three-pointer for Riders to send the lead through twenty, and Walker added another with an ‘and-one’ before the half was out to ensure that Flyers could not get much closer as the pace slowed.
And the lead was extended further when Gruis opened the second half as he did the first, with consecutive scores, in what became a 10-4 start as Riders led 57-33. Walker added another triple late in the quarter, and there was no way back for the visitors as the lead went through forty on Raheem May-Thompson’s trey after a dominant 25-11 fourth quarter.
It was a record win for Riders against Bristol, and their second biggest win of this campaign so far. Big man Trevor Gruis led the way with 18 points on 87% shooting, while Shane Walker hit all three of his three-point attempts on his way to 16 points.
Flyers, meanwhile, slip further in their chase for a Play-Off spot and have not won on the road in more than three months, a run of seven defeats that started against this opposition in December.
Leicester Riders 90 (30,47,65) (Gruis 18, Walker 16, Bernardini 14)
Bristol Flyers 52 (13,29,41) (Seilund 14, Lee 9, Streete 9)