With chairs being placed between the wall and the court it was clear that the conditions were far from ideal, and Leopards appealed the result .
The Basketball England Competitions Review Panel today ruled that the game should be replayed at a different venue on a date to be agreed.
This is the second time that Leopards have been granted a replay due to court problems in the National Trophy . The 2010/11 game at now defunct London Capital was declared void due to incorrect line markings, and the game was ordered to be replayed. The home side subsequently conceded the fixture . Ironically Leopards’ assistant coach that season was Lloyd Gardner who is now the Crusaders’ coach.
The home side looked to have recovered from a lacklustre display as Adeloula sent them into the final period 44-41 ahead, but the visitors went on a 10-0 run to grab a lead they would never lose .
Two-from-four foul shooting from Ladi Brown made it a one point game heading into the final 90 seconds, but the hosts didn’t trouble the scorers again, and Riders wrapped things up from the free-throw line .
Foul shooting proved to Leopards’ Achilles heal as they converted just five of their 16 attempts at the charity stripe.
David Ajumobi led a Leopards’ side who were without the injured Mike Martin, finishing with 15 points and eight rebounds . Brown added 12 boards and eight points.
It was a poor shooting night from both sides as they both converted only 20 of their 63 field goal attempts, but Riders’ 52-42 rebounding advantage together with Leopards’ woes at the foul line proved to be decisive .
Alex Roberts – who led the visitors with 20 points – opened the scoring for the visitors before Brown’s missed pair of foul shots set the tone for the evening .
Ajumobi opened the scoring for Big Cats but a Roberts three point shot gave Riders a 9-2 lead before treys from Dougie Bennett and Brown dragged the hosts back into the game, and a three from Dominic Scott-Robinson launched a 7-0 run to send the hosts into the first break with a 15-14 lead .
Justin Hitchman put Leopards up by three with the first score of the second period before Sam Broughton launched a 9-0 run to give Loughborough a 23-17 lead .
Treys from Brown and Adeloula kept Leopards in the game but a score from the Land of Plenty by former Leopards Levi Noel saw Riders take a 31-26 lead into the locker room at half-time .
Ajumobi hit the first six Leopards’ points of the second half to move the home side within two points, and they closed the third period on an 11-2 run with Scott-Robinson against draining from downtown .
Those ten unanswered points from the visitors – who also had Reiss Pinnock in double figures with a 12 point, 16 rebound double-double – launched an 18-8 fourth quarter, and Leopards will now look to bounce back when they host Manchester Magic on Sunday.