by Vlad Ionasc
Cheshire Phoenix will begin the month of March with a Friday night clash against the Leicester Riders.
The two sides faced off in pre-season back in November, however this will be their first competitive meeting of the season.
The Riders (14-2) currently occupy the first position in the BBL Championship table, while the Nix (8-9) sit sixth, following two consecutive losses against the Newcastle Eagles and Surrey Scorchers.
Phoenix’s captain, Jalen Hayes, missed the game against Surrey through injury but he is expected to return today.
Date: Friday 5th March, 2021
Tip-off: 6 p.m.
Competition: BBL Championship
How to watch: BBL Player
The BBL Player is the new one-stop-shop for all BBL action as you can watch every club and every game (excluding Bristol’s home games) live and on-demand for £19.99 per month. Alternatively, single-game passes are priced at £4.99.
Because of how the BBL is structured, all the money from the BBL Player goes directly to the clubs, so make sure to select the Cheshire Phoenix as your ‘club to support’ when registering, as all the revenue will help carry the club through this incredibly difficult period of financial insecurity.
RIDERS SCOUTING REPORT
The Riders have picked up 18 wins and seven losses in all competitions.
The Riders are 8-3 on the road in all competitions.
Leicester dropped their most recent game against the Worcester Wolves, 82-84.
The Riders boast the second most prolific offence in the league (87.6 points-per-game) and the third best defence (76.8 points allowed per game). Opponents are averaging just 43.6% shooting from the field (2nd lowest) and 68% from the line (2nd lowest) against the Riders.
The Riders are shooting a league-best 48.7% from the field and are also a respectable three-point shooting team, at 36.3% 3PT. Paternostro’s team ranks second from the charity stripe, with a 79.2% conversion rate on 15.9 attempts per game.
Leicester find themselves in third place in assists and fourth in rebounds, with 21.8 dimes and 35.6 boards per contest.
Gonzaga alum Geno Crandall leads the Riders in points (17.4) and assists (7.4) per game. He also draws the second most fouls in the league (4.8 per game).
William Lee is Leicester’s top rebounder (7.7 rebounds per game) and their most accurate three-point shooter (44.1% 3PT).
Corey Johnson has made the most three-pointers in the BBL (43). The Harvard alum is averaging 38.1% from deep on 7.1 attempts per game. Johnson also holds the third-best percentage from the free-throw line (90.9%).
The Riders recently replaced the injured Zach Jackson with former Auburn & St John’s swingman Mustapha Heron. The 6-foot-5 American averaged 15.1 points on 38.3% 3PT during his collegiate career and was selected in the SEC All-Freshman Team in 2017 and All-SEC Second Team in 2018.
The Riders have triumphed in three of the last five meetings against the Nix.
Leicester Riders: Geno Crandall — ‘The General’ has established himself as one of the best guards in the league in his first season at the Morningside Arena. Crandall ranks third in scoring and second in assists, league-wide. The MVP candidate will look to get his team back in the win column following their overtime loss against Worcester last week.
Cheshire Phoenix: Kahron Ross — Phoenix’s point-guard was simply sensational in February, as he averaged 17.5 points, 4 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.1 steals per game on 56.9% FG, 38% 3PT and 83.3% FT, leading the Nix to four wins in six games in the process. Keep your eyes peeled on the duel between Ross and Crandall tonight.
Ben Thomas: “After a weekend of two losses we are really looking for a positive result tonight!
“Leicester have been very good so far this season and tonight’s game will be a really tough test!
“We have to make sure we stick to our game plan and play team basketball for 40 minutes!”
NEXT HOME GAME
The Nix will be back in action at the EPSV on Sunday 7th of March, against the Sheffield Sharks in the BBL Championship. Tip-off is scheduled for 5 p.m.