Beating both the leading teams in the BBL Championship in one weekend proved a stretch too far for Cheshire Phoenix, but head coach Matt Lloyd was frustrated with their defeat by Leicester Riders.
"I'm very disappointed," he said. "To be in with a shout going into the fourth quarter, having led by six at half time. We didn't come out how we wanted to in the third quarter and when Rob Paternostro switched his defence to a zone we didn't regroup and come back together after hurting them in the first half. It's very disappointing."
The Riders only scheduled regular season visit to the Northgate this year was a strange affair. Paternostro's side, currently challenging the Newcastle Eagles at the summit of the BBL Championship, struggled to make any shots in the first half, making 33% of their efforts count and missing every three pointer they attempted.
That was a credit in part to the Phoenix defence, but the home team similarly struggled at the scoring end, although they were able to fashion a number of leads throughout the game.
Scoring was at a premium and in the second quarter things got heated as two controversial decisions whipped up both home and away fans.
The first one saw Stuart Thomson put up a free throw that was tipped out of the basket while clearly halfway in the hoop.
Despite this the referee allowed the block to stand. Then, with two seconds remaining, Thomson received the ball and put up a successful three point shot from virtually the halfway line.
The table officials failed to get the clock started in time however and Paternostro claimed, with some justification, that the time needed to be replayed and the points erased. The officials did not agree however, allowing the triple to stand and giving the Phoenix a six-point lead at the break.
In the third quarter the Riders clawed their way back into the game, thanks in part to the number of fouls committed by the Phoenix, and despite the home side having led by 12 at one stage of the period, it was the Riders who carried a one-point advantage into the deciding session.
The Phoenix were not about to allow them to run away with the game however. Chez Marks, Jerome Gumbs and Gabe Haskins did what they could on offence to keep the game alive and on defence Shawn Myers, Chris Pearce and Alif Bland attempted to keep things tight.
But Paternostro had a 'Get Out Of Jail Free' card in Pavol Losonsky, who was the only player with a significant shooting percentage for the visitors, making 67% of his 18 shots to score 24.
Those points got the Riders out of a hole a number of times and eventually told on the Phoenix, who were unable to manage the clock well enough to set up a late victory this time around.
Afterwards Lloyd admitted he had got what he wanted from the weekend however.
"We played very well as a team, our defence was strong, our offence was together," he said. "There's a lot of positives that can be taken from this game despite us losing by nine.
"We've had two tough games this weekend, we got a W on the Friday (against Newcastle) and then we managed to keep a top of the league side to 69 points so we're moving in the right direction.
"I wanted to come out of this weekend with two points. I wanted to target one of the teams and really get a W. To be honest I was targeting Leicester, with our two previous games against them running them so close and we have run them close again. But to get a win on Friday was a bonus, it made this loss easier to take."