Lions Trail By 9 For 2nd Leg

The London Lions fell 81-90 at home to the Leicester Riders in the first leg of the BBL Trophy Semi Final at the Copper Box on Wednesday.

The Lions were without Lamar Roberts but had Momcilo Latinovic and Justin Robinson back in the lineup on limited minutes.

You wouldn't have known Robinson was nursing an injury, however, as he went off for a game-high 25 points with 8 assists and 3 rebounds.

Leicester started well rushing into a 7-15 lead. The Lions struck back though, a 6-1 run midway through the first quarter brought their first lead of the game. Corey Dixon, who struggled to make his usual impact, gave the Lions the lead despite pressure from defenders and the shot clock. Dixon would finish the contest with just 8 points. 

The first quarter ended 26-26 thanks to the Riders’ Pierre Hampton’s late bucket.

The second quarter saw the teams trade baskets and the Riders edge into a one-point lead at the half. It would have been a larger lead but Robinson was on hand and drained a buzzer-beating two-pointer to close the gap to 47-48.

The game's pattern continued into the third as baskets continued to be traded until a three quick-fire three-pointers gave the visitors a run of scoring that would set them up well for the first leg victory.

The Lions' new signing Flo Larkai impressed in limited minutes scoring a two-point field goal at the buzzer to close the gap to five points, 63-68.

The visitors pushed their lead to 11 points thanks to a quick 6-0 run but the Lions would up their defensive intensity and kept the Riders scoreless on three straight trips to the basket. Despite getting stops the Lions weren’t playing their best basketball and couldnt capitalise on their defensive work.

The night went from bad to worse for Dixon as he was struck in the face which left him bloodied and the game stopped for 15 minutes whilst his blood was cleaned off the floor. Luckily for the fans in the arena Lavar Ball, owner of Big Baller Brand and father to the Ball boys including NBA star Lonzo Ball, was on hand to give an impromptu interview.

When the game got back underway both sides played with energy but the Lions were in a cold spell and despite their best efforts, they couldn't bridge the gap to the Riders. The deficit now is 9 points to be overcome if the team are to get to the BBL Trophy Finals.

Vince Macaulay was very disappointed with how his side played on Wednesday "[I'm] Very disappointed how passively we played, that's something we are going to fix on Friday. Looking forward Macaulay said, "It's a nine-point game, we're still alive and it's all to play for."

Lions visit Leicester for the second leg on Friday, needing to win by 10 or more points to book a final appearance with Sheffield Sharks. The game will be live on the BBC red button at 19:30.

With a rash of fixture changes in March, the Lions next home game will be on Tuesday 13th of March at 7.30pm when the Bristol Flyers are the visitors.

(Report; D. Paul, Pic; P. Gowdie)

Lions Scorers; Robinson 24, Ikhinmwin 14, Larkai 10, Dixon 8, Guede 5, Latinovic 5, Lashley 3, James 0.

Riders Scorers; Wright 18, Hampton 16, Holder 16


Date added: 15/02/2018

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