BBL Play-offs, Semi-Final, First Leg
Glen Luss Glasgow Rocks 84-105 Leicester Riders (17-25, 48-43, 69-77)
(Rocks – Harris 29, J. Johnson 15, V. Johnson 11; Riders – Crandall 32, Whelan 18, Loving 15)
The league-champion Leicester Riders have taken a big double-digit advantage after their BBL Play-off semi-final first leg against Glen Luss Glasgow Rocks, beating their hosts 105-84 at the Emirates Arena in a fascinating shootout in which the teams shot a combined 47% from three-point range, with Riders at an eye-watering 13 makes at 54%.
Geno Crandall turned in a typically sensational big-game performance, with 32 points, 11 assists, seven rebounds and five steals, making 5-12 (41%) beyond the arc; while Patrick Whelan knocked down 4-6 (66%) from long range on his way to 18 points.
The teams traded big runs early in the game as Riders started as they meant to go on, leading 17-7 after five minutes as Crandall, Whelan and Marc Loving all knocked down triples. But Rocks cut the gap to one point on a 9-0 tear that included a pair of Jordan Harris dunks, and were up 37-36 when he added a three-pointer and an ‘and-one’ play to bring up his 20th point just before the half.
Rocks temporarily held a double-digit lead themselves when Jordan Johnson closed the first half with a buzzer-beating trey and opened the second with two more to make the score 54-43.
But Whelan stemmed the flow with a three of his own, and from there Riders found their feet, hitting a 10-0 surge in a minute and a half soon after, sparked by further triples from Crandall and Whelan as they snatched the lead back at 60-59 on a Darien Nelson-Henry score.
And that proved decisive, Riders landing another nine unanswered points late in the third as Zach Jackson scored seven in a row, restoring the double-figure lead at 77-66 as they returned the favour by pouring in 34 points in the period.
The visitors pushed the lead out through 20 points by holding their hosts to just 15 in the fourth, going through the century for the fourth time in victory over the Rocks this season on Crandall’s 30th point of the contest.