Rob Paternostro and Fab Flournoy were in agreement that their BBL Cup semi-final tie has become a great advert for BBL basketball as they gear up for Friday’s second leg.
In a memorable game at the John Sandford Centre last weekend, Leicester fought back from a 21 point deficit to level the tie at 90-90, and leave things finely poised for the return leg in the north east on Friday (19:30).
Riders play-caller Paternostro said: “It was a great advertisement for BBL basketball, John Sandford was electric, the atmosphere in there was incredible, our fans were outstanding and our players fed off the energy of the crowd.
“Friday night games in Newcastle are games as players and coaches you look forward to playing in. They will have a great crowd which is what you want in a game like this. It will be a great opportunity for everyone involved.”
His opposite number Flournoy was also pleased with their semi-final experience, as they look to book a place in the final at Birmingham’s NIA on January 15th.
Fab said: “Saturday night was an excellent BBL experience. Leicester’s gym was packed and jumping and our guys really responded well in the first half and played with a great deal of defensive energy. Our schedule probably helped our rhythm in the first half but certainly hurt our energy levels in the second half.
“We need to play better defence all the way around. We gave up 50 points in the second half on Saturday and that is simply not going to get the job done. Obviously we hope to be fresher on Friday and also would expect to get more calls at home than we got on Saturday.”
The winner of Friday’s match-up will take on Plymouth Raiders or Worcester Wolves for the first piece of silverware of the season next month.