by Vlad Ionasc
Cheshire Phoenix will target their fourth win in 2022 when they’ll host the undefeated league leaders Leicester Riders at the EPSV later today.
The Nix have won five out of their last six games in all competitions and are currently undefeated in 2022.
The Riders, who have already triumphed over the Nix twice this season, will look to preserve their undefeated status in the BBL Championship and improve their record to 10-0.
Date: Sunday 23rd January, 2022
Tip-off: 5:30 p.m.
Competition: BBL Championship
How to watch: Tickets available on the door / BBL Player
RIDERS SCOUTING REPORT
The reigning regular season champions have enjoyed a brilliant start to their 2021/22 campaign as they’ve picked up nine wins in as many games.
The Riders booked their spot in next week’s BBL Cup final by narrowly defeating the Phoenix in the Quarter-Final and the London Lions in the Semi-Final.
Rob Paternostro’s side crashed out of the BBL Trophy after a First Round defeat against the Bristol Flyers.
The Riders are currently 7-1 on the road, with their only loss coming against the Flyers.
Leicester won the first meeting between the two sides on November 13th 85-84 before defeating the Nix just six days laters by a much more convincing margin, 94-72.
The Riders are averaging a league-best 96.4 points-per-game on 51.7% shooting from the floor (1st in BBL) and 42.5% from deep (1st in BBL). Paternostro’s men also lead in the free-throw shooting department, as they’re currently making 76.4% of their freebies (1st in BBL).
Leicester ranks third in overall rebounds (37.9), only behind the Surrey Scorchers (38.3) and London Lions (38.4).
The Riders average more assists (24.6) and commit less turnovers (10.3) than any other team in the league.
The undefeated league leaders average more steals (7.9) than any other team in the league.
Despite leading the league in points-per-game, the Riders do not have any players in the Top-10 of the scoring leaderboard.
Geno Crandall ranks third in assists-per-game (7.1), only behind Glasgow’s Jordan Johnson (9.3) and Newcastle’s Rahmon Fletcher (9.9).
Crandall currently leads the league in steals with 2.6 per game.
Mo Walker ranks third in overall field-goal percentage (66.7%) league-wide.
Patrick Whelan (48.8%), Crandall (48.8%) and Marc Loving (45.5%) are all in the top-10 of the three-point shooting chart.
Loving has made 25 three-pointers so far, the 5th most league-wide.
Leicester Riders: Geno Crandall — The reigning BBL MVP is currently enjoying another stellar season with Leicester. The former Gonzaga point-guard is currently averaging 14.9 points and 7.1 assists per game, whilst shooting 48.8% from downtown. Crandall leads the league in steals with 2.6 per contest.
Cheshire Phoenix: Namon Wright — Phoenix’s leading scorer is affecting the game in more ways than one, as he’s also averaging 5.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists and one block per game. Wright is making 40.3% of his shots from deep, on six attempts per game.
Ben Thomas: “Today’s game is a huge opportunity for us to really test ourselves against the league’s best team this season so far!
“The Riders have had a good start but we feel like we’re in good form at the moment and playing with a lot of confidence so it’s just about going out there, battling, putting our bodies on the line and working hard for 40 minutes. If we do that then we can get the result that we all want!”
NEXT HOME GAME
The Nix are next in action at the EPSV against the Glasgow Rocks (5:30 p.m. tip-off) in the BBL Championship on the 6th of February.