A thrilling fightback by the DBL Sharks Sheffield fell just short as they were edged 78-82 by the Leicester Riders in a pulsating game at the EIS.
In a rematch of the BBL season opener, the Sharks took the visitors to the wire and were within two points of the Riders with 7.3 seconds left on the clock - but the side lying second in the league held on.
The Riders were on the front foot from the start, Pierre Hampton winning the tip and laying up before captain Tyler Bernadini added the first of his 20 points.
Mike Tuck and Rashawn Rembert brought the Sharks level at 6-6 but consecutive three pointers from Bernadini put the Riders in control, Andrew Thomson and Taylor King also adding points to stretch their lead to 16-25 at the end of the first quarter.
The Sharks came out fighting at the start of the second, Rembert and Kellen Thornton, and an 11-5 run kept them in touch before a basket from Tony Wroblicky brought the hosts level.
With less two minutes left of the half the Riders once again stretched out a lead. Three from Bernadini - who made three of four attempted triples in the first half - gave them the edge. A quick-fire 11-point scoring run towards the end of the half took the Riders into a 38-49 lead at the buzzer.
The Sharks refused to give up, Davis and Rembert adding four points at the start of the third. Five points from Bernadini gave the Riders daylight once more, but an 8-0 Sharks run took the home side to 55-61 at the end of the third, the momentum of the game seemingly swinging their way.
The Sharks made that momentum count at the start of the fourth, taking the score to 61-65, but Bernadini kept the scoreboard ticking over for Leicester. The Sharks weren’t done, though, and a 9-2 run took them to 78-80 with 7.3 seconds left.
However, strong defense from the Riders kept the Sharks out before the visitors broke and added two more points from the free-throw line to confirm their hard-fought victory.
Coach Atiba Lyons said: “We showed a lot of fight and a lot of heart out there.
“We could have easily just faded away especially after how the first half ended, but we came out re-focused and we did a good job.
“There’s a lot of positives to take away, especially after the Worcester loss - we saw guys stepping up.
“It’s heart-breaking but I think we showed progress.”