Loughborough Student Riders produced an impressive performance to push professional franchise London Lions all the way in front of a busy home crowd before coming up short to fall 73-81 in the BBL Trophy Quarter Final.
The British Basketball League (BBL) Trophy, a knockout contest competition featuring just three non-franchise teams from second division of the UK saw the Student Riders become the only non-professional team to reach the quarter-final stage. The progression to the final eight meant Loughborough would host a professional team on campus, 4th place in the BBL London Lions, in front of a packed Sir David Wallace Arena for the first time.
The Student Riders had produced an historic season so far and carried that confidence into the their first ever home BBL Trophy action. The home side started in a strong fashion to stay level with the Lions in the opening minutes despite several close misses, exciting the home crowd to rally behind the young side.
The home support grew as the Student Riders took a second quarter lead behind a huge dunk from second year second Dan Hemingway and led the game going into the half time break.
The positive performance continued into the second half as Head Coach Mark Jarram’s team’s defence continued to cause problems for the Lions who were never able to open a lead of more than six points and only one shot separated the two teams going into the final ten minutes.
London’s Andre Lockhart put his side ahead by three at the buzzer before the strong play of Cory Dixon edged the Lions in front. Loughborough pushed back with some positive shooting from Hemingway, guard Alex Roberts and Charnwood College Student Morgan Carter.
Despite back-to-back threes from Charnwood College guard Sesan Russell in the dying minutes, London would hang on to victory in and all round great event of basketball on the Loughborough University Campus.
“A tremendous 24 hours for not only the players but the entire programme,” commented Coach Jarram following the event.
“There were many people, staff and volunteers that helped create an amazing game day experience and it will be something those players will never forget, an awesome lifetime experience and event.
“We are hoping it can be repeated for more games in the very near future. The fans were loud and into the game, it was just awesome!!”
“We held our own and took the London Lions right down to the wire Friday. Hopefully hope the experience they gained in the BBL trophy game can carry some momentum forwards.”
Loughborough returned to their own league’s action on Saturday in a game that saw them take a strong victory over local opposition Derby Trailblazers winning 89-56 at home to maintain their strong league position a top National Basketball League (NBL) Division One.
Next the Student Riders travel to face the Lancashire Spinners on Saturday 27th January before a NBL National Trophy Semi-Final game in Portsmouth on Sunday 28th January against Team Solent Kestrels.
For more information on the Loughborough Basketball Programme be sure to follow @lborobasketball on all social media platforms for content throughout the season.