SHEFFIELD Sharks early season rustiness was evident last night at the EIS as they were convincingly beaten on the opening night of the BBL season by Leicester Riders.
Without guard Micah Williams, who is awaiting clearance of his work permit, the Sharks had an impressive debut from fellow American Gage Daye.
Riders, led by Great Britain international Andrew Sullivan, always looked the stronger side as they managed an 18 point half time lead through the final two quarters.
Sharks had started well and led 11-7 through Daye’s basket, but Riders guard Jorge Calvo scored three three-pointers in a 14-5 burst up to the end of the first quarter to give his a team a 21-16 advantage. A 7-2 opening to the second period by Sheffield tied the match at 23-23. However, the rest of the half belonged to visitors as big man John Fraley began dominating under the basket.
Riders put together a 22-6 run to lead 31-49 at half time. Trailing 45-56 after three-quarters Sharks trimmed the lead to 47-56 to start the fourth but could get no closer.
* SHARKS: Daye 15, Tuck 13, Babalola 11, Gachette 5, Sing 4, Bridge 4, Brownell 3.