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Season Ends At Semifinal

A 19 point deficit from the first leg of the semi finals of the BBL playoffs proved too much of an obstacle for the London Lions, who went out of the competition to League winners Leicester on Sunday. 


Much of Sunday's game was a tight, scrappy, low scoring affair, with the Riders capitalising on a depleted Lions team that ran out of steam towards the end of the tie. 


Navid Niktash, who has been an increasingly valuable presence for the Lions on both ends of the court, spent the game on the bench, struggling with a bout of food poisoning. 


It was perhaps fitting that the third quarter - where the Lions have struggled all season - would be the teams undoing, as they were outscored 26-10. Problems with the three point shot were also evident as the Lions converted just three of their 23 attempts from downtown. 


But the scoreline probably flattered the league winners slightly, with the Lions at times putting on demonstrations of the strong defence and offensive flair that saw them dispatch the third place Glasgow Rocks with relative ease. 


In a game where the Lions only scored 55 points, Alex Owumi chalked up 21. 


The Lions struggled to score from the tip, with Leicester building a 7-2 lead early in the first quarter. But the Lions recovered and started trading buckets - and misses - before an Owumi steal and jump shot tied the game with just over three minutes remaining in the first. 


Andre Lockhart started the process of eating into Leicester's 19 point advantage with a lovely shot from behind the arc. Owumi tried the same thing but was fouled and made all three to take the lead to six. 


Leicester quickly came back, but then sent Kai Williams to the line. His two made shots gave the Lions a 13-17 lead at the end of the first. 


The second saw the Riders back on form and the Lions went from concentrating on cutting down the aggregate deficit to desperately trying to hold onto a slender lead. At the half, the Lions were still ahead, by one point. But with 18 points still needing to be made up, the task was starting to look impossible. 


It was a third quarter collapse that Lions fans have seen time and again this season. Having held Leicester to just 29 points in the first half, they now allowed 26 in a quarter. 


With the damage done, it became a question of how many Leicester would win by. Despite this, the Lions battled on and the fourth quarter was fairly evenly balanced, 17-15. 


But it was Leicester who made it through to the final on Sunday at the O2, while the Lions will be left pondering what might have been if they hadn't, for instance lost Jamal Williams earlier on in the season. 


Final score 72-55. 


Report Phil Groves, Pic; Graham Hodges.


Lions Scorers; Owumi 21, Taylor 8, Williams 7, Ikhinmwin 7, Lockhart 6, Wells 4, Hassan 2, Moyo


Riders Scorers; Walker 12, Robertson 12, Bernardini 11.


Date added: 07/05/2017

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