Exclusive by Geoff Sweet
Matt Bryan-Amaning is a man on a mission this weekend as reigning champions Leicester Riders ride into town to face the London City Royals.
The Royals’ leading scorer is still smarting from last month’s overtime loss at Leicester – and has pledged to come out “swinging first” in his thirst for revenge.
Last time the Royals were 67-58 ahead with three minutes to go but, after the Riders had reduced the deficit to just one point, the key moment in a pulsating game saw Bryan-Amaning race free on his own.
It was odds-on he would add another two decisive points with just 30 seconds to go.
But Deandre Burnett somehow made an audacious but, in the Royals’ view, an illegal block and Leicester fought back to first force overtime and then run out 83-79 winners.
Said Bryan-Amaning: “Yes, it was a foul at end of the game – a blatant foul followed by a touch foul at the other end that gave them the opportunity to tie the game.
“We want the win this time. When we have bodies we can play anyone in this league. I just hope we can get as many of the team back as possible.”
Bryan-Amaning was referring to last weekend’s 90-81 British Basketball League Cup loss to the struggling Worcester Wolves.
Long term long-term injury victim Ashley Hamilton (wrist), AJ Roberts (groin), Will Neighbour (hand) and Dayshonee Much (back) were all missing, while new signing Will Ohuaregbe hadn’t obtained clearance to play.
He and fellow new boy Jules Dang Akodo should be on court at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre (7.30pm) as the Royals look to improve on their 3-3 league record.
The additions of guard Akodo, signed from Fraport Skyliners in Germany, and 6ft 9ins centre Ohuaregbe, from Leuven in Belgium, have perked up a squad ravaged by so many injuries.
The loss to Worcester was a blow, but Bryan-Amaning added: “We were beat up with so many guys out injured – it was the right time to play against us.
“Opponents are up to play us, being the new team in the league, so they are coming out with a lot of enthusiasm and energy.
“But instead of taking the first punch we need to come out and swing first, and make it a different story against Leicester.
“Come and see us. Leicester are the reigning champions and with a big win at Newcastle behind them, so this is high class game.
“We had a great game at Leicester and matched up well. This time we must do the business.
“We’re 3-3 and not where we want to be but, remember, every loss has been on the road. We can beat Leicester.”
Picture: Sam Neter/ Hoopsfix.com