BBL Trophy: Leicester Riders beat Newcastle Eagles in final

By Rob DugdaleBBC Sport
Andrew Sullivan
Leicester Riders' Andrew Sullivan led his side to their first win in five final appearances

Leicester Riders won the BBL Trophy for the first time in their history when they edged out Newcastle Eagles 85-77 at Glasgow's Emirates Arena.

Great Britain captain Andrew Sullivan hit 22 points for Leicester and was named most valuable player, while team-mate TrayVonn Wright added 20.

The Eagles came back from 17 points down in the third quarter to tie, only for Leicester to finish the stronger.

Rahmon Fletcher led Newcastle's scoring with 18 points.

Leicester had never won the Trophy in five final appearances, but they made the better start, racing into an 18-7 lead with nine points from guard Tyler Bernardini.

Newcastle levelled the game at 26-26 in the middle of the second quarter only for Sullivan and Wright to give the Riders to a 42-30 half-time advantage, scoring six and five points each in the process.

Leicester extended their advantage in the third quarter with threes from Wright and Jamall Anderson before the Eagles threatened a repeat of January's Cup final comeback with a flurry of threes from Fletcher, Charles Smith, Drew Lasker and Joe Chapman.

The sides were level 72-72 with just under four minutes remaining, but in contrast to the Cup final, Leicester produced the killer touch.

Baskets from Sullivan, Bernardini and Trevor Gruis started the 13-4 run that won the game and ended Newcastle's hopes of repeating last year's clean sweep of all four major titles.

Leicester Riders coach Rob Paternostro:

"Offensively we made better decisions, but before the game I said to the guys 'it's got to be defence that wins it for us' and I think our defence was better today.

"We held them to 77 points today and that really gave us a chance to win - it was important."

Newcastle player-coach Fab Flournoy:

"They had a good game plan coming in - I think it took us a while to get things going in the first half," he said.

"In the second half we settled into the game a little better but by that time they already had their rhythm and it was like trying to stop a freight train."