It was a rude awakening for the DBL Sharks Sheffield in the opening fixture of the season as the Leicester Riders stormed to a comprehensive 85-54 victory at the English Institute of Sport.
The Sharks knew this would be a tough opening fixture and so it proved, with the Riders exacting revenge for their 84-77 play-off final defeat in May.
Following a tight first quarter which ended 14-14, Leicester were dominant throughout, scoring 42 points to the Sharks’ 17 in the second and third periods.
The Riders blew the game open in second quarter to lead 34-21 and stretched further clear in the third, leading 56-31 going into the final period.
And although the Sharks restored some pride in the final quarter, they still only just managed to beat their lowest-ever home score of 47 - set in 1994 - with the Riders’ experience and power demonstrating why they are among the favourites for the British Basketball League title.
Summer signing Shaheed Davis top scored for the Sharks with 16 points.
Sharks head coach Atiba Lyons said: “I thought we played a very strong Leicester team tonight. They have that advantage of experience and guys that have played together for a long time and they really hit the floor running.
“We’re trying to merge a lot of new pieces and it was a tough first test for us. It was a solid effort but all round we lost our composure at times and didn’t do things well.”
“Overall the new guys held their own and did a good job.
“You can see the talent is there but we’ve just got to work on it.”
The Sharks are back in action on Sunday at Yorkshire rivals Leeds Force.
Sharks scorers: Shaheed Davis (16), Tony Wroblicky (12), Kyle Odister (6), Zach Gachette (5), Marko Backovic (4), Rob Poole, Cardell McFarland, Edward Brownell (3), Mike Tuck (2)