It’s the final day of the BBL season, can Leicester Riders stop the Newcastle Eagles doing a clean sweep?
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17.45: Game over. Newcastle win 71-62, and with it secure the BBL clean sweep in the league’s 25th season.
17.42: It’s slipping away from the Riders now. Newcastle are up 68-59 with 33 seconds on the clock, and it’s going to take nothing short of a miracle to win it for Leicester now.
17.37: 94 seconds left, and the Riders are down 67-57. It looks the Eagles are going to complete a clean sweep this BBL season.
17.34: Another wasted opportunity for the Riders, as Rundles misses two free throws. A basket shortly after reduces the deficit to 6, with two and a half minutes to play.
17.32: Time out with 3:48 to play, Eagles up 63-55.
17.26: But as we say that, good work from Rundles, doesn’t get the basket, but Sullivan snaffles the rebound and the Riders are back within five at 58-53.
17.25: Two missed chances from the line, and you feel this game could be slipping away from the Riders now.
17.23: Rundles lands his first FG of the game to move the Riders back within five, but the Eagles are holding them off, and lead 58-51. 7:25 to go.
17.21: Missed opportunity for Sullivan at the start of the fourth quarter, and Yorick Williams doesn’t help with an error in back play. Paternostro rolls the dice and brings back Cameron Rundles, who is on four fouls. 56-49 to the Eagles.
17.17: Drama at the end of the third, as Leicester try to close out the third quarter with an important basket that would move them within three. Instead, Gause comes up with a monster defensive play, steals the ball and finds himself on the breakaway to score the two, and put Newcastle ahead 56-49.
17.15: Huge defensive play by Sullivan again as the game really heats up. Paul Gause throws Newcastle in to a 54-49 lead, closing in on the end of the third quarter.
17.12: Important two on the breakaway for Wierzbicki keeps Leicester hanging on to Newcastle’s coat tails, as the league champions threaten to open up a deficit. As it is, they lead 46-43.
17.08: Newcastle hit the front, and it looks like we could well be heading in to the key part of the game. Eagles are up 40-37.
17.06: Still a low scoring game here at 37-36, it’s got us looking through the excellent BBL stats guide. The least number of points scored in a final is 136 – Worthing v Guildford in 1994.
16.59: The Riders have come out at the start of the second half on a mission, they’ve poured home six points to force the Eagles in to a timeout with 1:13 gone of the half. Leicester lead 37-31.
16.57: If you want to keep up with all the stats on the fly, the BBL Statcast is now live. Click here,
16.52: Darius Defoe and Drew Sullivan are the top point scorers with nine each.
16.50: The stats are in for the first half. Newcastle throwing at just 25% from the free throw line, but they have a rebound percentage of 59% which has helped them fight back to level things up.
16.43: Half time: Leicester Riders 31 Newcastle Eagles 31. The Eagles have fought back well to clear their early deficit.
16.41: 42 seconds left in the first half and we’re all square once again at 31-31. Newcastle have fought back, and Darius Defoe has brought them level.
16.35: Turning in to a fascinating game now, the Eagles are within three at 29-26. The Riders looking to steady the ship before half time.
16.31: First three-pointer of the game for the Eagles, and it goes to Paul Gause. Good hustle in defence, and they are now within four.
16.28: Time out called by the Riders, who are up 26-17 with 6:44 left of the second quarter.
16.25: Two big plays from the Riders. First Rundles snaffles a turnover and tees up Hardy for a slam dunk, before Wierzbicki lands a three, and the Riders are now up 26-13.
16.23: Newcastle really struggling from the free throw line so far, one from Darius Defoe edges them within eight of the Riders, who foul again, Rundles this time.
16.19: Leicester have Newcastle at arms length right now, they run the clock down at the end of the first, and go in to the break 21-12 to the good.
16.13: Good defensive work from Sullivan turns defence in to attack, and Brett Royster is the man who claims the points. Riders are up 17-12 and the BBL babes are out on the court for the first time.
16.11: Fab Flournoy, who picked up his Coach of the Year award before the match, nudges his side in front with a well taken two.
16.09: Darius Defoe goes to the line but comes away with nothing, as the Riders lead 11-10 with 6 minutes gone.
16.03: GB captain Drew Sullivan is up for the occasion, he has all of the Riders’ five points so far. 5-6 to the Eagles.
16.00: And we’re off at the NIA!
15.52: The players are being introduced to the crowd at the NIA, tip-off fast approaching!
15.50: Foxy’s here. As you can imagine, the crowd are going wild!
15.43: Interesting stat for you – Leicester have never lost a title game! They beat Sheffield in the 2001 play-off final, and also won the National Cup final against London Leopards in the same year.
15.38: The players are out on the court for their warm-up, the excitement is building!
15.30: Although both the Eagles and the Riders finished 1st and 2nd in the BBL Championship, they’ve had to work hard to get to this showpiece event. The Eagles had a right royal rumble with the Cheshire Jets last weekend, eventually prevailing over the two legs, having previously eliminated Guildford Heat. The Riders, meanwhile, secured victories over Sheffield Sharks and Glasgow Rocks.
15.25: It’s the 25th play-off final, and Newcastle will be looking for a record fifth title. Of the 14 different clubs that have won the play-offs, they have won it the most. It was won last season by Mersey Tigers, who completed a treble of trophies by beating Sheffield Sharks.
15.21: Congratulations to Rowlatts Hill Primary School from Leicester on winning the Hoops 4 Health tournament final.
15.16: Some big news coming out of the BBL and the sport of basketball in general today, is the announcement of a new British Basketball Union. The union combines the GB Basketball, BBL and England and Scotland Basketball set-ups to help increase participation and volunteers in basketball. Find out all about the Union here.
15.12: If you’re not at the NIA in Birmingham, don’t forget you can watch the game live on SKY Sports 3. They’re currently making some adjustments to the basket cam as we speak!
15.05: The curtain raiser to the main event, England against Scotland Select, has just finished, with England, featuring Mersey Tigers star Myles Hesson and Worcester’s David Watts among others, coming out on top 88-76.
15.03: It’s all about creating history for the Eagles today. If they win, they will become the 11th winners of the league and play-off double, and become only the fourth team to complete a clean sweep of trophies in the BBL’s 25 year history.
15.00: Just an hour to go until the season finale, the BBL Play-off final between Newcastle Eagles and Leicester Riders. Have the Riders got what it takes to stop the Eagles from collecting their fourth trophy of the season?