THE party went flat very quickly for Sheffield Sharks as Leicester Riders showed their true colours four-days too late at the EIS with a 85-63 victory.
On Saturday the Sharks had shocked the BBL leading Riders in the BBL Trophy final in Glasgow. After losing their four previous meetings by over 20 points Sharks managed to win when some silverware was on the line, but last night they were distinctly second best to the size and strength of Leicester.
After the high of being presented with the BBL Trophy the Sharks quickly felt the full force of Riders attempt at redemption.
Jay Couisnard, who has been a thorn in the side of most teams this year, began the scoring as Riders raced out to a 13-4 lead before Sheffield had time to draw breath.
Sharks’ response was an 8-4 burst, which brought the score back to 17-12 but the rest of the quarter belonged to the visitors as a three-point by Anthony Rowe opened a 10-2 close to the period.
Trailing 27-14 the Sharks needed a good start to the second quarter and it looked like they had one when Olu Babalola’s three and two free throws from BJ Holmes cut the gap to 31-21.
However, it was as close as Sheffield would get before half time as Riders surged ahead with a 15-9 run up to the interval to lead 46-26.
Sheffield were much better in the third quarter but still couldn’t prevent Leicester from increasing their lead.
Demetrius Jemison scored six points in an 11-4 run which reduced a big deficit to ‘only’ 60-39. Leicester hardly flinched though and a three-point play by Couisnard in the final second of the period gave Riders an unassailable 70-44 advantage.
Whereas Sharks’ BJ Holmes’ threes had dropped on Saturday last night they hit the rim and refused to fall through. It allowed the Riders to play their favoured zone defence, which Sharks struggled to penetrate.
When Holmes did finally connect from distance it made the score 77-54 midway through the final period and the chance of victory was long gone.
Sharks take on Cheshire Phoenix tomorrow night looking to get their play-off challenge back on track.
* SHARKS: Jemison 12, Babalola 12, Holmes 10, Tuck 9, Lewis 6, Gachette 6, Bridge 6, Brownell 2.
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