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Report: Leicester Riders 64-63 Bristol Flyers

Bristol Flyers fell short of a comeback victory against Leicester Riders away from home.

Flyers were led by Fred Thomas with 20 points including 16 in the third quarter to put the game back in reach. Daniel Edozie backed him up with a 13 point, 11 rebound double-double.



Riders were hot from distance in the early going, with Kiefer Douse scoring the first points of the game from behind the arc. The hosts built an early lead as Wayne Martin hit a lay-up and DeAndre Burnett made a three point play, before Tevin Falzon responded with a lay-up of his own. 

An early second foul for Lewis Champion sent him to the bench and gave Jordan Nicholls a chance for increased minutes. Panos Mayindombe hit a lay-up off a Nicholls assist to bring the game close.

Riders continued to break through to score with Burnett leading the way. Mike Vigor was next to add scoring from the bench with a lay-up of his own. A few possessions later, Vigor pulled down a rebound and found Thomas on the fast break for a two handed dunk.

Champion picked up for a dangerous third foul, being called for an illegal screen on Pierre Hampton. Hampton went to the line and hit both free throws to end the quarter with Riders up 18-10.

Edozie continued to attack the basket in the second period, getting an early lay-up off a high-low pass from Vigor. Riders responded with a 6-0 run and triggered a timeout from Coach Kapoulas.

Flyers continued to win the battle of the boards with Edozie grabbing another offensive rebound and sinking a hook shot to cut the lead to seven. Nicholls put his body on the line to take a charge from JR Holder, turning a dangerous cut to the basket into a turnover.

Bristol were once again held scoreless through the close of the second period and a 7-0 run from Leicester saw the lead extend to 14 points. Flyers headed to the changing room with work to do in the second half, the hosts up 36-22.

Thomas found success with a lay-up before going coast-to-coast for another one in the following possession. Falzon found Thomas for a second successive three and Coach Paternostro made a series of substitutions to shore up the Riders’ defence.

Thomas was irrepressible, taking another shot from distance and sinking the heat-check three to force a Riders timeout with lead down to just three points. Thomas’ attacking mentality and hot shooting led to him scoring a huge 13 points in a row for Flyers.

Riders struggled to get back in the game with a pair of offensive fouls on their next two possessions. Edozie cut the deficit to one point with another lay-up off a dime from Vigor. 

Riders’ captain Andy Thompson made a timely three-pointer to keep Flyers at bay. Thomas stole the ball to initiate a Flyers offence and hit a mid-range jumpshot to tie the game.

Gray was able to draw another foul and convert the free throws to give Flyers their first lead of the game. Riders again answered with a much-needed bomb from distance.

Douse made a big three for Riders to re-take the lead. Edozie made a big defensive play to close the quarter, blocking a three point attempt from Thompson to keep it tight, Riders still ahead 50-46.

Edozie remained a defensive stopper after the break, stealing the ball from Burnett and hitting a lay-up with an assist from Gray. Falzon hit a mid-range look and Edozie again finished inside to tie the game once again.

Gray was able to swish a three-pointer to put Flyers ahead, relishing the make after having struggled from distance up to that point. Douse quickly answered with another three-pointer to level the score.

A missed corner three from Conner Washington gave Flyers a chance to take the lead. Edozie was called for an illegal screen and picked up a technical foul. Washington made the foul shot to edge Riders ahead.

Flyers defence remained stalwart through the closing minute and they made multiple stops but were unable to find a much-needed basket.

Edozie turned away Hampton at the rim as the last seconds were ticking down and Thomas took a three from the Flyers backcourt as the time expired. The shot bounced off the rim and the game ended just out of Flyers’ grasp.