BBL: Leicester 78 London Lions 77
PUBLISHED: 10:07 10 December 2017 | UPDATED: 10:07 10 December 2017
London Lions faced adversity all the way but went down by a single point at Leicester Riders.
The visitors were inspired by a 25-point haul from Justin Robinson and had the better of the first quarter although not the fouls as they were being continually penalised by the officials.
In fact the Lions would not even attempt a free throw in the first half on their way to just eight in the game, while the hosts benefitted from 21 attempts.
Up 28-15 at the end of the first the Lions continued to drain three-point shots as the hosts fought back.
An unsportsmanlike foul was called on Momcilo Latinovic, helping to build the momentum for the home side and allowing them to reduce the deficit to 42-37 at half time.
And a momentous third quarter saw both teams slugging it out before the Riders forced their way ahead 57-54 with 10 minutes remaining.
The lead changed hands as both teams put in a great effort, but Lions were incensed by a foul on Moritz Lanegger, who appeared to be elbowed in the face by Andy Thomson.
Everyone awaited the punishment, either an unsportsmanlike or an ejection, but it never came, in fact no punishment was given.
Eventually with the Lions ahead by four points, Demonte Flannigan missed a three-point attempt and the Lions fouled Andy Thompson on a lay-up of which he made the bonus free throw.
That led to an immense six-point turnaround in six seconds as the Lions were chasing with only seconds left.
And a turnover from Latinovic spelt the end for the visitors, despite a banked three from Isenbarger and another at the buzzer from Robinson.
While Riders struggled to impose themselves from long-range, they went 16 from 21 at the free throw line in contrast to the Lions’ three from eight.
Lions must now regroup to try and qualify for the BBL Cup final on Sunday, holding a 13-point lead after the first leg against the Cheshire Phoenix. Tip off is at 5pm.
Lions scorers: Robinson 25, Guede 15, Flannigan 15, Isenbarger 8, Peel 4, Latinovic 3, Ikhinmwin 3, Lanegger 3, Hall 1, Lockhart 0, Roberts, James.