Newcastle have regained the BBL Championship after Leicester’s emphatic win over Plymouth tonight. The Raiders had to win to keep the title race alive but were comfortably beaten 96-72 at the JSSC.
Bradd Wierzbicki led the rout with a game high 30 points on 86% shooting while GB captain, Drew Sullivan contributed 19 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists. James Jones top scored for the visitors with 17 points along with Jeremy Bell as well as making the team’s only three pointer from a collective 19 attempts while their opponents made 10 from their 19 attempted.
Wierzbicki capped an early 9-2 run for Leicester with a three to give the Riders an early advantage. Another 9-2 run followed later to end the quarter with the home side in the ascendancy, leading 30-20 with Wierzbicki netting two triples either side of one from Yorrick Williams.
Leicester carried the momentum into the second quarter with Wierzbicki adding four points in quick succession to increase the lead. Williams connected with another score from beyond the arc to spark an 11-0 run for the home side as their advantage extended beyond 20 points.
Plymouth contained the free-scoring hosts for the next three minutes but a triple from Cameron Rundles before half time made it 54-32. The visitors overturned a 20 point deficit to defeat the Lions last week and needed a similar performance in the second half to keep the title race alive.
However, a slow start ensued when play resumed and although Plymouth began to trim the lead, Leicester held firm. A Rundles three started a crucial 15-2 run to end any hope of a revival for the visitors. No points were added in the final two minutes of the third as Leicester took a commanding 30 point lead into the final quarter, 76-46.
Gavin Love’s side edged the final quarter to salvage some pride but were too far behind to mount a serious comeback. Paul Williams scored seven points in an 11-2 start to the fourth although Rundles responded with another triple to keep the Raiders in check.
Fittingly, Wierzbicki finished the game with his side’s final five points as the Riders recorded their 20th win of the season to draw level with Plymouth.
The battle for second intensifies as Leicester, Plymouth and Worcester all have seven defeats to their name while Newcastle’s clean sweep ambition continues with the addition of a third title.