Plymouth Raiders travelled to the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre on Saturday night to face the inform London City Royals. The two sides met each other for the first time back in December where the Raiders took the win 84 – 77. With both sides making personnel changes since then, it was sure to be an interesting game for both teams.
Raiders came out strong, opening up a 10 – 0 lead inside the first couple of minutes and continued to score throughout the period. 13 points from Rashad Hassan kept the Raiders in front, leading 18 – 29 after 10 minutes.
The second period saw the Raiders struggle offensively. Shooting one of ten in the first five minutes allowed the Royals to close the gap to 30 – 31 forcing Coach Paul James to call a time out. A 15 – 11 run for the home side gave them a 45 – 42 half time lead. Hassan added a further six points to lead all scorers with 19 whilst the home side had Ashley Hamilton on 15 and Matthew Bryan-Amaning on 12.
The half time interval allowed both teams to regroup but it was the home side who continued their run. Easy baskets allowed an 11 – 2 and 7 – 0 run put for the Royals to put them in a commanding 77 – 62 lead following a 32 – 20 quarter with ten minutes to play.
Raiders began to rally in the final period forcing the Royals to call a time out with the score at 86 – 73 with just under six minutes remaining. The gap was reduced to as little as six with 03:43 to play but some key baskets from the Royals saw them run out winners 102 – 93.
Hassan finished with 34 points in under 30 minutes whilst Donte Nicholas achieved a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds and Devontavius Payne had 14 points. Jawad Adekoya had nine points, five assists, four rebounds and four steals on his return to the club after being in the country for a little under a week. Royals shared the scoring with all 11 players scoring, with four hitting double figures.
Raiders have a quick turnaround following an early morning arrival back from London, when they will face Surrey Scorchers at the Pavilions on Sunday. Tickets for the game can be bought online from https://www.theticketstore.co.uk.