Basketball: London Lions win in first leg of BBL Cup semi-final at Cheshire Phoenix
PUBLISHED: 16:00 04 December 2017
BBL Cup semi-final first leg: Cheshire Phoenix 74 London Lions 87
London Lions took a step towards reaching the BBL Cup final after recording an 87-74 win on the road against Cheshire Phoenix in the first leg of the semi-final.
Lions produced a strong final quarter to earn a double-digit advantage to take back to the capital for next Sunday’s second leg.
London started well, as did the home side, and there was just a point in it after the first quarter.
Lions had already used Lamar Roberts inside against CJ Gettys and a three-point, four-rebound performance was superb from the youngster.
However, dragging Gettys in and out of pick and rolls limited his effectiveness, but great shooting from Robert Sandoval meant London trailed by three at the end of the third quarter.
Phoenix’s lead didn’t last long, with Andre Lockhart coming on and igniting his team defensively, leading to a flurry of threes from Lions.
A 13-1 burst scoring burst followed as London netted five triples in the final quarter to build a commanding advantage.
Lions shot 40 per cent from three-point range as they drained 15 in the contest, compared to Cheshire’s six from 28, with the home side also seeing all of their points scored by their starters.
Momcilo Latinovic led the way with 18 points in the win, while Justin Robinson was close behind on 17, made with just seven shots, along with seven assists.
Jack Isenbarger produced some big-time threes in the second half to finish with 12 points.
Lions now travel to BBL champions Leicester Riders on Friday in the league, before returning home on Sunday to try and finish the job against Phoenix.
It looks set to be a vital weekend in both league and cup for Lions as go in search of two wins in the space of little over 48 hours.
London know they can ill-afford to think too much about the second leg at home to Cheshire in the build--up to the Leicester game as it could prove their downfall against Riders.
But a win against the league champions on Friday would be the perfect way to warm up for the crucial semi-final second leg on Sunday.