Leicester 76, Bears 100: Coach Nick Nurse suspected this might be a tricky away trip for his injury-hit Bears.

In fact, it could not have been much easier.

They turned it into an easy ride in the East Midlands last night to keep their title bid firmly on course.

Still missing Randy Duck and with Emiko Etete sidelined by a shoulder problem, Bears coasted to a ninth win in ten games on the back of 50 per cent field shooting, a 56-43 rebound count and impressive performances from their leading lights.

Wilbur Johnson led the way with 14 rebounds to go with his season-high 35 points, Sterling Davis had his fifth successive 20-point game in the league and Rico Alderson, with ten assists and nine boards, went within a whisker of another triple-double.

With Ralph Blalock back on his old home court at Loughborough University and Mike Brown running the back court, there was also a chance for Errol Seaman and Bud Johnston to get into the action and even for young centre Oliver Roache to get a debut.

Roache, who has played for Worthing Thunder and Bears' Juniors, has been called in to gain experience with the BBL high-flyers and capped his first outing with the final points of the contest, picking up the pieces from Johnston's missed free throw.

Chester's win over Sheffield yesterday means both Bears' title rivals suffered defeats over the weekend which was good news for Nurse's men as they embark on a testing sequence of away matches.

He said: "I was pleased with Wil's performance obviously.

"I admit I was worried coming here but our first five took care of business, Errol contributed well and Bud did some good things at the end too.

"Chester beating Sheffield suits us. It's early to look down the schedule but we have done that and Sheffield look to have a favourable run-in."

He added: "I was disappointed Emiko wasn't able to go. He hasn't practised all week but we definitely need to get him back ready to play."

Bears will certainly face tougher tests than that posed last night by a Leicester side who have now lost 20 games on the bounce.

The visitors did not take long to assert their authority, Davis hitting a three-pointer and Alderson adding a dunk inside the first minute.

Alderson, formerly a favourite at nearby Derby, seemed to have his own fan club among the crowd and they had also cheered his three-pointer, plus a similar Johnson effort, by the time Leicester coach Billy Mimms hauled his side in at 17-8 down.

Point guard Tim Winn, eager to impress on his home debut, roused the Riders with a super move to the basket and Kenya Capers hit a three before Johnson and two Blalock free throws saw Bears 27-17 up at the first break.

That lead was extended to 14 in the second period with a 7-0 run and, when Winn hit a three, Davis replied instantly from similar range.

Alderson continued to pick up assists and, when he missed right on the buzzer, Seaman got the put-back to make it 50-33 at the half.

From then it was pretty much exhibition stuff from Bears.

They enjoyed success virtually every time they went to the hoop and scored 27 points in the third quarter, including a couple of Johnson dunks after Alderson had done much of the hard work.

The lead was 77-54 at the last break which effectively silenced home supporters, though they did find their voices to tease Alderson when he missed two simple shots towards the end.

By then though Bears led by 29, the bench men were on court, Johnston was running the point and the league leaders from Sheffield were getting a little bit closer.

Scorers - Leicester: Winn 27, Capers 17, Porter 8, Robinson 8, Leak 7, Passmore 4, Renton 2.

Bears: Johnson 35, Davis 20, Alderson 17, Blalock 14, Brown 6, Seaman 5, Roache 2, Johnston 1.