Surrey Scorchers lost a thriller at the Sports Park arena as Leicester Riders withstood a storming comeback from the hosts.
Second-placed Riders seemed set to run away with victory when they raced into a commanding Q1 lead buoyed by two early three-pointers. Yet despite trailing 15-4 inside seven minutes, and then 28-13 at the end of Q1, the Scorchers belatedly established a foothold in the game.
Chaed Wellian nailed a big three-pointer of his own at the end of Q1, and when Morakinyo Williams scored consecutive baskets with a tough rebound in between, the Scorchers had a degree of momentum midway through Q2.
The hosts won Q2 by one point but trailed 33-47 at half-time. Thereafter, though, momentum swung with a vengeance.
Joe Mvuezolo began Q3 with a 3-point play from the line and, with Tayo Ogedengbe and Quincy Taylor taking control, the Scorchers were suddenly level at 52-points apiece. Williams put Scorchers ahead for the first time, and the hosts also won Q3 27-18, but Riders showed their resilience to re-establish their lead with ten minutes remaining.
The Scorchers were level again midway through the final quarter, and the two sides traded baskets to find themselves at 80-80 with 60 seconds left.
Yet, with Riders sneaking back in front, Taylor – looking to increase his personal tally to 22 points – appeared to drive in underneath the basket for a game-tieing score only for his shot to agonisingly bounce off the rim and away.
Scorchers committed a foul in trying to preserve the clock but could not find their way back to parity and the Riders secured a 17thwin of the season.