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Shortened Lions Take Down Eagles

A depleted London Lions took an excellent road win against the Newcastle Eagles 85-82 on Friday night in the BBL Championship.


London took the floor against the second placed Eagles with Andre Lockhart starting in place of injured star Point Guard Justin Robinson, and a bench of just three players as the team have been hit by injuries and changes.


The clash started well for the Lions as they built an 7-2 lead thanks to baskets from Brandon Peel, Joe Ikhinmwin and a three from Lockhart, the first of seven made by the visitors.


The Eagles worked hard in the first to close the gap but the Lions headed into the first intermission with a two point advantage thanks to a dagger three pointer from the red hot Lockhart who was clearly relishing his role on the night.


The score went back and forth to start the second quarter before the Eagles got into their groove and, after scoring five unanswered points to finish the period, would enter the break leading 48-43.


The young Londoner Jonathan Lashley, a Hackney Community College graduate, played well in the second period whilst covering for Peel and Ikhinmwin as Macaulay looked to rotate his starters.


Macaulay had Lashley guard Eagles threat, Saah Nimley in the third for 6 minutes, the youngster holding him scoreless. The Lions edged the third period by three points to close the gap to just two points with Brandon Peel continuing his excellent form by scoring another double-double before the quarter was out. Peel would finish the game with 21 points and a game-high 15 rebounds. The Lions were led in scoring by Paul Guede who scored 22 points.


The performance of the night was oozing out of Paul Guede, as clearly injured he assisted in ball carrying duties, held Jaysean Paige and delivered 22 points. Lions quickly erased the deficit with a 7-0 run to start the final period. Newcastle rallied back for a four point lead of their own but this would be as good as it got for the Eagles.


Lockhart brought the gap down to two from the line after forcing his defender into a foul and Ikhinmwin with a smooth baseline layup to tie the game at 73. 


The lions briefly held the lead, but the Eagles pulled the game level once again. 


It was Lions’ Captain, Joe Ikhinmwin, who restored the two point advantage and when Dixon gave the Lions a four point lead with a minute to go the contest became a game of fouls.


The Lions’ defensive performance was outstanding for the full 40 minutes and it was never better than when Dixon blocked a shot in the final minute with the contest still on the line.


The Lions did enough to stop a late surge from the Eagles as the hosts tried to tie it with just seconds to go, to take an important road victory.


Coach Macaulay was delighted with the win “We had a great week of practice and keyed in on the objectives to give us the win, the guys played hard and dug deep and I thought it was probably one of the best Lions performances I’ve seen in five years.”


The Lions are back in action on Friday 9th February hosting defeated Cup Finalists Worcester Wolves at 7:30pm in the Copper Box Arena.  Tickets available at ticketmaster.co.uk


Lions Scorers; Guede 22, Peel 21, Dixon 15, Lockhart 12, Ikhinmwin 8, Latinovic 5, Lashley 2, James.


Eagles Scorers; Paige 25, Defoe 12, Nimley 11


Date added: 03/02/2018
BBC

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