READING Rockets were knocked out of the NBL Division One play-offs after falling to an 83-63 defeat at Loughborough Riders on Saturday night.

The visitors were quick out of the blocks at the University and captain Danny Carter – in what was to be his last ever appearance in a Rockets vest – and Sydney Donaldson were particularly impressive as they moved into a 19-14 lead at the first break.

The second quarter was a much lower-scoring affair as both defences stayed on top, though Riders cut the deficit to 31-30 at the half-way point.

The third period proved key as Riders hit five from beyond the arc to take the quarter 22-10 and move 52-41 in front.

Rockets rallied at the start of the final stanza and with AJ Carr hitting a treble, they cut the gap to seven points.

However, that was as good as it got as the home side responded, hitting a pair of trebles to surge 64-49 in front midway through the quarter.

Carter continued to excel on his final outing, adding 10 points in the last 15 minutes, while Adrian O'Sullivan landed a pair of trebles.

However, Rockets' indiscipline proved costly, and with Loughborough missing only one free-throw, a late 10-0 run saw them to an ultimately comfortable victory.

Top scorers for Rockets were Carter with 19 points, five rebounds and two assists and Donaldson with 14 points and seven rebounds.

O’Sullivan and Carr hit eight points each with Trae Pemberton and Arinze Emeka-Anyakwo scoring seven apiece.

Reading Rockets women have been given a reprieve after Loughborough Riders fielded an ineligible player in their 63-58 quarter-final victory earlier on.

Consequently Basketball England have ejected Riders from the competition, and Rockets will now travel to play Bristol Academy Flyers on Sunday (noon) in the semi-finals.