Basketball: Leeds force their way into top four but defeat for Sharks in Cup

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Leeds Force moved into the BBL top four for the first time after making it back-to-back victories for the weekend with an 82-74 victory on the road against Cheshire Phoenix.

D’Andre Bullard led the way with 19 points, eight rebounds and eight assists with Rob Marsden adding 18 points as five players in total reached double figures.

The visitors made a strong start and raced into a ten-point lead at 11-21 after the first six minutes. The home side gradually got themselves going and closed within two points in the second following an 11-2 run.

Cheshire moved ahead with five quickfire points and maintained their advantage heading into the half-time break.

In the third quarter, the lead grew to as many as nine points before Leeds began to battle back to set up an exciting final quarter as they cut the gap to just three points.

After Cheshire went 64-57 ahead, the visitors responded to produce a pivotal 12-0 run including triples from Louis Sayers and Bullard to put their side ahead. The home side closed within two, but another three from Sayers helped Leeds pull away and make sure of the victory.

Leicester Riders reached the Semi-finals of the BBL Cup after holding off Sheffield Sharks with a 62-60 win in a gripping encounter.

Drew Sullivan was his influential best for the Riders with 17 points and 10 rebounds - completing his double-double with a vital rebound in the final 10 seconds - while TrayVonn Wright added 15 points in the win.

The teams were level at 15-15 at the end of the first quarter, and the home side gradually began to edge away in the second as they moved ahead by eight points with the final five points of the half.

A strong start to the third period saw the Riders lead by as many as 13, and they would still hold a double-digit advantage heading into the final quarter.

Jerrold Brooks made 3-out-of-3 from the free-throw line at the start of the fourth as the Sharks began to chip away at their deficit. The visitors put together an 8-0 run over a three-minute spell to take the lead at 59-60.

Jamell Anderson immediately restored Leicester’s advantage and they would keep their opponents scoreless for the final three minutes as Neil Watson added a free throw in the closing stages to double the lead to two points.

Antone Robinson - who finished with 11 points and 12 boards - saw his effort to force the extra period rim out much to the jubilation of the Riders faithful.

Brooks led a valiant Sharks effort with a 27-point haul whilst adding six assists, but it would prove to be an agonising defeat.