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Lions Character Shines Through

The London Lions had to dig deep to recover from a loss at Sheffield on Friday night and then knock out League Champions Leicester Riders in the BBL Cup on Saturday night.


Poor scheduling had seen the capital side have to play both games on the road and back to back against fellow top four contenders.


Having looked out of sorts in Sheffield on their way to an 83-73 loss, the Lions appeared the fresher team as they ground down the Riders in a tough physical game at the Leicester Arena on Saturday.


Leicester Riders 59 - 67 London Lions (8-17, 22-29, 42-51)


London Lions are into the BBL Cup semi-finals for the third year in a row after beating Leicester Riders 67-59 on the road, led by Momcilo Latinovic.


It is also Leicester's second straight home defeat, while London have snapped a run of consecutive road losses.


A strong Lions start to the game held their hosts to just 8 points in the first quarter and it was this that was the platform for the win.


This gave Lions enough of a cushion which they defended fiercely, as Riders tried to respond. Demonte Flannigan rebounded like a beast as he garnered 15 boards whilst Guede and Latinovic did the work on the offensive end.


Andre Lockhart and Joe Ikhinimwin brought energy and intensity on the floor as the visitors forced turnovers that proved costly to Rob Paternostro’s men.


The home side got as close as four points in the fourth quarter but the damage was done and the Lions were the first team to book their place in the BBL Cup Semi-Finals.


Lions scorers - Latinovic 20, Guede 13, Robinson 11, Hall 7, Flannigan 6, Ikhinmwin 4, Peel 4, Lanegger 2, Lockhart 0, Isenbarger, Roberts, James


Riders Scorers; Leonard 16, Hampton 13, Holder 11.


Key stat - Lions were extremely strong defensively, keeping Riders under 60 including just 22 first half points. That was particularly so inside, as they held Riders to 37% shooting and grabbed 30 defensive rebounds to Leicester's six offensive boards.


The game against the harks the night before was a completely different affair as the Lions did not fight as hard.


 


DBL Sharks Sheffield 83-73 London Lions (22-19, 42-36, 66-51)


DBL Sharks Sheffield made it five wins in a row with an 83-73 home defeat of fellow contenders London Lions, Sharks move to 5-1 and remain second in the BBL Championship table.


The win maintains an amazing home record that Sharks possess over Lions, with 34 wins and just three defeats in 23 years' worth of top flight games between these sides.


Turning point - Zach Gachette hit a buzzer-beater to end the first half, giving Sharks a slight edge. And they carried that momentum into the third period, opening it with a 14-6 push as the score hit 56-42 on consecutive Dirk Williams three-pointers, adding to triples from McKnight and Alexander.


Key stat - Sharks played incredibly strong defence, and particularly so with the three big men Mike Tuck, Tony Wroblicky and Rob Marsden. They held Lions to just 41% inside shooting, while those three players grabbed 15 defensive rebounds between them.


Game hero - Dirk Williams led the scoring with 18 points, including two crucial three-pointers in the decisive run, shooting 4/7 from beyond the arc and 63% overall.


Lions scorers - Latinovic 17, Isenbarger 15, Robinson 15, Flannigan 7, Guede 5, Lanegger 4, Peel 4, Lockhart 4, Ikhinmwin 2, Hall 0, Roberts, James.


Sharks Scorers; Williams 18, Alexander 16, Marsden 15.


(Picture - Justin Robinson courtesy Graham Hodges)


Date added: 29/10/2017
BBC

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