Glasgow Rocks have put consecutive losses behind them as they won their first game of 2012, beating the Leicester Riders 82-87 in the East Midlands.
That condemned the Riders to back-to-back home defeats, as both teams pursue top four positions in the BBL Championship table.
The Rocks were led by 26 points and 7 rebounds from Gareth Murray, while Danny Huffor scored 17 points on 3/4 shooting from beyond the arc. Bradd Wierzbicki shot 3/5 from long range on his way to 21 points to lead the hosts.
The teams traded baskets to 4-4 in a slow start to the game, before the Riders rattled off the next six points as Hardy dunked, then blocked at the other end, and Wierzbicki hit a three-pointer. Despite the Rocks getting back to within three, baskets from Barry Lamble and Jamell Anderson off the bench helped the Riders to a 23-16 lead after the opening ten minutes.
After the hosts flirted with a double-digit lead as Rundles opened the scoring in the second period, the Rocks narrowed the gap as Murray and Huffor each hit five points, with both scoring a three-pointer, for a one possession game at 33-31 midway through. But the Rocks would score just once in the next three minutes as baskets from Brett Royster and Wierzbicki helped the Riders back into the ascendancy at 39-33 going into the locker rooms.
They maintained that margin through the first four minutes of the third quarter as the teams traded baskets, but the Rocks showed signs of what was to come as Huffor and Cranston made consecutive scores, to make it 47-45, and forced the Riders into a timeout. The Riders led 50-47 when their visitors made the decisive move: a pair of Wedemire free-throws sparked a 10-0 surge in which Huffor scored the other 8, including two three-pointers. The Riders didn’t score for three minutes and found themselves trailing 52-57 going into a crucial fourth quarter.
But the Rocks only pushed on in the fourth, despite Drew Sullivan netting an early three-pointer. Sterling Davis responded with one of his own and the Rocks maintained a buffer of around six points until their lead went through the double-digit barrier at 61-71 on Murray’s three-pointer inside the final five minutes. But the game was far from done as the Riders chipped away and made a last-ditch salvo. A 7-0 run, capped by a Rundles triple, got them back to within one shot at 72-75 with two minutes to play, only for the Rocks to go back out to nine points at 74-83 one minute later with Mychal Green making a vital three-point play. But a Wierzbicki three-pointer with 23 seconds left, and one from Sullivan with 18 seconds left, meant that the Riders were within reach at 82-85. However the Rocks held out as Green made two crucial free-throws and Sterling Davis stole the ball from Sullivan to settle matters at the end.