Double double: James Jones
Double double: James Jones

The Giants suffered last-gasp heartbreak against champions Leicester as they put in another brave effort on the road.

Again without the injured Stefan Gill and Mike Bernard, coach Jeff Jones was forced to rely heavily on six players – and they almost pulled off a stunning result.

Great Britain captain Drew Sullivan scored the crucial points for Leicester as they just held off the Giants.

Sullivan twice put the Riders in front during the final minute, the second time for good as David Aliu’s last-gasp shot failed to drop for the Giants.

Earlier Sullivan’s three to open the game was the only time Leicester had the lead in the first quarter as the Giants dominated. Manchester held a slender 15-13 advantage before scoring the final eight points, through four different scorers, of the period to have a double-digit advantage at 23-13.

Riders wasted little time in pegging the Giants back to 27-23 on Anthony Downing’s three and even though Manchester were still finding ways to keep the scoreboard moving they couldn’t stop Riders from closing the gap further.

Rashad Hassan’s dunk made it 32-31 and the comeback was complete as Downing made it 39-39 and Sullivan’s three edged Riders 44-42 ahead. Yorick Williams seemed to have given the Giants the half time lead at 45-44 with a three of his own before Downing had the last word to make it 46-45.

Giants had the better of the third quarter to hold a seven point lead at 61-54 before Riders trimmed the gap back to 62-60 heading into the final period.

Aliu’s three to open the fourth quarter only served to inspire a 7-0 Riders burst. And the home team looked to have finally broken their visitors’ resistance when Jay Couisnard made it 83-78.

However, Giants tied the match three times at 83, 85 and 87 before Sullivan eventually settled it.

Aliu and James Jones both played the full 40 minutes scoring 22 and 18 respectively, with Jones dishing out 11 assists.

Yorick Williams scored 20 and Rob Marsden 19.

Riders v Giants stats HERE