Scorchers bowed out of the BBL Trophy in a gritty 77-60 defeat at the hands of Leicester Riders at the opening of their new Leicester Community Sports Arena.
BBL Trophy, Quarter-Final
Leicester Riders 77 (17,34,56) (Sullivan 14, Bernardini 13, Wright 11)
Surrey Scorchers 60 (13,27,43) (Miller 23, Ogedengbe 11, Schlitzer 7)
In front of 2,500 fans and thousands watching via a free livestream on Sky Sports and Webcast Sport, the experience of the Riders ultimately told despite some strong performances from the visitors.
Scorchers kept within touching distance across a tight first two quarters, with Drew Sullivan in the ascendancy for the hosts, totaling 14 points and 7 rebounds on the night.
Surrey’s KC Ross-Miller was making it happen for Coach Creon with 9 first half points, whilst centre Andreas Schreiber made two big second quarter triples to keep it a seven point game at half-time, 34-27.
Riders stretched their lead to double figures late in the third quarter, but Scorchers kept the work rate to keeping pulling the deficit back. Christian Behrens and Nick Schlitzer were working hard for Surrey’s defensive rebounds, and Tayo Ogedengbe gave the away fans something to cheer about converting a break with a superb throw-down.
KC Ross-Miller continued to force the issue for Scorchers with a combination of drives and jumpers to finish the game’s top scorer with an impressive 23 points (60% 9/15).
Yet it was Riders and the debut Leicester Community Sports Arena crowd that were left celebrating at the final buzzer, taking the game 77-60 and booking a BBL Trophy semi-final place.
Commenting after the game, Scorchers Head Coach Creon Raftoploulos said:
“We need to be consistent and put in four solid quarters of basketball. In terms of BBL experience our young guys are learning game by game.
“Hopefully we can grow & learn from these experiences and focus on our battle towards the bottom of the table. We know that two wins takes us some way up the table. We’ll keep on working and hopefully the results will come with the performances.”
Next up for Scorchers is a trip on the road to Glasgow Rocks on Sunday 7 February, 18.00 tip.
Scorchers are next in action at Surrey Sports Park on Sunday 14 February versus Plymouth University Raiders, 3.30pm tip-off.