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Leicester stay clear at the top; London make it a double

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Leicester stay clear at the top; London make it a double

Leicester Riders restored their four point cushion at the top of the league with a convincing win over Durham while London Lions completed a weekend double and there were home wins for Cheshire and Worcester.

Leicester Riders restored their four point cushion at the top of the league with a convincing win over Durham while London Lions completed a weekend double and there were home wins for Cheshire and Worcester.

Anthony Rowe made an immediate impression on the Leicester fans with a debut double-double of 21 points and 12 rebounds in the 91-68 victory. Pavol Losonsky top scored for the high-flying Riders with a 22 point haul with Brad Guinane leading the visiting Wildcats with 21 points.

Rowe opened the scoring in an even first quarter with Yorrick Williams netting two triples while Guinane raced to 10 points to have Durham level at 23-23 after ten minutes. The teams were still tied midway through the second before a 10-2 close helped the home side take a 40-32 advantage into the break.

When play resumed, Leicester asserted their authority and broke clear with a 14-1 burst with a Connor Washington three capping the run. Mike Baldarelli replied with a score of his own from beyond the arc but Durham now trailed 68-50 at the end of the third.

Jay Couisnard scored the last five points in a 10-0 spell for the Riders as they continued to increase their lead. Durham rallied but Couisnard and Jorge Calvo both found the net from long range before the Spaniard concluded proceedings with a pair of free throws.

Worcester returned to winning ways with a 71-68 home win over the Sheffield Sharks. A late triple from Micah Williams gave the visitors a chance to snatch the victory but Arnas Kazlauskas nailed two free throws to seal the win and finish on a game high 20 points.

Sheffield enjoyed the better start; leading 16-9 after the first quarter before extending their lead to 13 points after a 10-2 burst in the second. Worcester then took control with a dominant 24-4 spell to take the lead at 42-34 at half-time.

Paul James’ side opened up a double digit advantage in the third but the Sharks gave themselves hope as they whittled the lead down to three at 56-53 with ten minutes remaining. Worcester managed to keep their opponents at bay throughout the final quarter despite a late three from Williams making it a one point game in the final minute.

On Sunday, London Lions made it two home victories for the weekend after defeating the Mersey Tigers 86-60 at Crystal Palace. The visitors closed the gap to single figures in the fourth before the Lions compiled a destructive 25-4 tear to take the win.

Duane James top scored for the home side with 16 points while Orlan Jackman contributed 15 points, 16 rebounds whilst providing 5 assists. Chris Bigley led the Tigers on his return with a 15 point haul as Mersey remain without a win in 11 league games so far.

The final league game of the weekend saw Cheshire victorious in front of their home fans for the second Sunday running after a crushing 106-72 win against the Wildcats. Chez Marks led the front once again with a 26 point haul to continue his imperious scoring efforts.

This is how the weekend results have shaped the league table:

Leicester Riders 11-1 (22pts); Newcastle Eagles 9-1 (18pts); Surrey Heat 8-2 (16pts); Plymouth Raiders 7-3 (14pts); Worcester Wolves 7-6 (14pts); London Lions 6-7 (12pts); Glasgow Rocks 5-3 (10pts); Cheshire 4-7 (8pts); Durham Wildcats 3-8 (6pts); Manchester Giants 3-8 (6pts); Sheffield Sharks 2-8 (4pts); Mersey Tigers 0-11 (0pts)

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