Leicester Riders kept up the pressure on the Newcastle Eagles in the BBL Championship table after they picked up a thrilling 96-99 victory over the Prestige Homes MK Lions at the MK Basketball Centre on Friday night.
The Lions had led 94-93 as the game headed into the closing stages of the game. A pair of free-throws from Demarius Bolds handed the home side a 96-93 lead with 1:11 remaining. It was not enough for the Lions to ultimately secure the victory as a Cameron Rundles three-pointer for the Riders tied the game up at 96-96 with 39 seconds left.
Bolds missed the opportunity to give the home side the lead once again and that opened up the opportunity for the visitors to steal the victory and they gave themselves a great chance to do so as another Rundles three-pointer with six seconds remaining in the game to lead 96-99.
The Lions had a chance to tie the game up but could not get a shot off in time as the Riders held on for the all-important victory.
Earlier in the game, both sides traded baskets for much of the opening quarter but it was the Lions who opened up an early lead as they lead 27-22, but five points from Rundles for the Riders with a Robert Youngblood basket sandwiched between them for the Lions helped the home side into a slender two-point lead at 29-27 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second period both sides continued to trade blows and a Stefan Gill three-pointer took the score out to 48-39 with three minutes remaining, but the Riders bagged the next six points of the game to trim the deficit to three points at 48-45. The Lions kept the visitors comeback at bay as they headed into the locker rooms leading by five points at 56-51 at the half.
In the second half, both sides traded baskets throughout the majority of the third quarter but it was the Lions who kept their noses in front as they opened up a six point advantage at 75-69, but four points from Rundles to end the period helped the visitors close the deficit to just two points at 75-73 heading into the final stanza.
In the final period, a 9-0 opening to the quarter handed the Riders a 75-82 lead and both sides traded baskets for the majority of the period before the fireworks of the closing stages happened.
Bolds led all scorers with an impressive 39-point haul for the Lions, while Rundles almost matched him as he netted 30 points for the Riders in the victory.