Riders Sweep Eagles For Season And Take BBL Treble With Championship - Apr 28, 2013
Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders produced a superb defensive performance to win the BBL Play-off Final 68-57 against Newcastle Eagles, completing a treble after lifting the BBL Cup and BBL Championship trophies earlier in the season.
GB Olympian Drew Sullivan (203-F-80, agency: Interperformances, college: Villanova) was named MVP, adding the award to his Molten BBL Player of the Season award. He ended up with a game-high 24 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. He was supported by Jamell Anderson, who made 86% of his shots on his way to 13 points and 6 rebounds. BBL Cup Final MVP Jay Cousinard finished with 8 points and 7 rebounds, while Zaire Taylor finished with 8 points and 2 steals.
For Eagles, only Darius Defoe and Kareem Maddox made more than half their shots as they finished with 13 and 12 points respectively. Maddox also pulled down a game-high 8 rebounds.
Riders held Eagles to just 57 points - the lowest score ever posted in a BBL Play-off final, breaking the record of 62 points scored by Riders in their loss to the Eagles in last season's final. Eagles made just 35% of their shots against great Riders defence and sank just one of their sixteen 3-point efforts. The Riders' 68 points also broke the record for the fewest points scored by a winner, breaking a record that the Eagles had tied in last season's final with 71 points.
Eagles started the game struggling to score against some stifling Riders defence, with Molten BBL Defensive Team of the Year members Drew Sullivan and Zaire Taylor coming up with some fantastic defensive plays that resulted in steals. It took Eagles close to 3 and a half minutes to score on the Riders defence, through Kareem Maddox, who scored 2 field goals in succession to give Eagles the lead at 7-5, which would prove to be their final lead of the game.
Riders had struggled to that point to score against the Eagles as well, but Rob Paternostro's substitution into the game of Yorick Williams proved to be an inspired decision. The veteran sharpshooter had 5 points and an assist during a 13-0 run that put Riders up by 11 at 18-7 and Riders maintained that lead into the quarter-break, where they led 22-11.
Charles Smith cut that down to single figures for Eagles, scoring the first points of the second quarter, but that proved to be short lived as the Eagles then scored 3 points in the next 5 minutes on some great Riders defence. Riders meanwhile scored 8 points in the spell but made just a single field goal in the period, scored by Drew Sullivan. That spell took the Riders' lead out to 14 points at 30-16.
Kareem Maddox's putback started Eagles on a 6-0 run to pull themselves to back within 8 points, leaving them down 34-26 with 90 seconds left in the first half. They didn't score again, going into the half-time break down 38-26, with those 26 points the fewest ever scored in the first half of a BBL Play-off final.
Eagles came out of half-time fighting, Darius Defoe sinking an alley-up, with Smith assisting at the end of a 7-2 mini-break by Eagles at the start of the third quarter, cutting the Riders' lead down to 40-33.
But Riders hit back, Sullivan showing his class by sinking a 3-point shot then making a massive slam dunk in an 11-2 run that made the Riders' lead 16 points at 53-37.
Jay Cousinard hit a 3-point shot to extend that lead out to 17 points in the final stanza, making it 60-43. But the Eagles struck back, with Joe Chapman finally making a trey for them after 33 minutes of play. That sparked an 8-0 run, nearly halving the Riders' lead to make it 60-51.
The Riders stopped that run after Sullivan again came up with a vital play, making a tough turnaround jump shot to make it 62-51.
That stopped the Eagles' run with 5 minutes to go and the Riders' defence again proved tough - Eagles never reduced the gap to single figures again. The Riders kept the Eagles to just 6 points in the final 5 minutes and while they also only score 6 points, it proved enough to secure them a second BBL Playoffs title.
BBL Round Up Sunday 13 Jan - Riders Triumphant In Final - Jan 14, 2013
The Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders ended a 12 year wait for silverware as they secured the BBL Cup in thrilling fashion as they defeated the Newcastle Eagles 80-85 at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham in front of a bumper 7,500 crowd.
Back-to-back baskets from Fab Flournoy gave the Eagles the lead at 80-79 with 1:05 remaining in the game. Zaire Taylor sank a huge three-pointer with 45 seconds left to give the Riders the lead at 80-82 and Jorge Calvo held his nerve to make one of his free-throws with 20 seconds left.
The Eagles had the chance to win the game, but both Joe Chapman and Damon Huffman missed three-pointers down the stretch and Calvo and Anthony Rowe made free-throws to give the Riders the thrilling victory to spark amazing scenes as the Riders celebrated their victory in front of the capacity crowd and Sky Sports cameras.
The MVP award was given to Jay Couisnard (198-F-88, college: UMKC) from the Riders for his team-high 17 points performance.
Earlier in the game, a tight opening to the game saw both sides trading baskets early on as they tried to establish themselves on the game. A pair of three-pointers from Andrew Sullivan saw the Riders take an early 9-12 lead, but the Eagles bagged six of the next eight points to overturn that quickly as they lead 15-14 with three minutes remaining in the opening period. Seven points from Jamell Anderson, including a bank three-pointer, gave the Riders a strong finish to the quarter as they ended the opening period 17-20 to the good.
In the second quarter, a Chapman three-pointer gave the Eagles a 24-22 lead, but it was shortlived as the Riders picked up their intensity at both ends of the floor and as a result, enjoyed a 18-5 burst to take the score out to 29-40 with 3:20 remaining in the first half. Huffman and Taylor traded three-pointers in the closing moments of the second quarter as the Riders headed into the locker room leading by nine points at 36-45 at the half.
In the second half, the Eagles came out of the locker rooms strongly after Flournoy's team-talk and an 8-2 burst bought them right back into the contest as they trimmed the deficit back to just four points at 46-50. The Riders were not to be outdone however as 11 points from Jay Couisnard, including three three-pointers, saw the Riders finish the third period strongly with a 15-4 burst to enjoy their biggest lead of the game at 14 points at 51-65 heading into the final stanza.
In the final period, Chapman and Anderson traded three-pointers early on as the Riders maintained their advantage and lead by 12 points at 64-76, but Charles Smith's basket sparked the Eagles into life in the closing stages as he bagged six points in a 14-2 burst to tie the game up at 78-78 with 1:25 remaining in the game to set up a thrilling finish to the Final.
MVP Couisnard led the scoring for the Riders with 17 points personal, but it was Joe Chapman who led all scorers in the game as he netted 29 points for the Eagles in the defeat.
At the end of the game, Couisnard was lost for words in his explanation of the victory.
"I have no words for it. It's fantastic! I just want to go and celebrate with the guys. We knew what we had to do in the final quarter to win the game and Coach Rob [Paternostro] set us up in practice all week. Could not feel better!"
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