BBL Trophy: Manchester Giants 73 London Lions 105
PUBLISHED: 12:00 18 December 2017
London Lions bounced back from their BBL Cup exit in style, as they dominated Manchester Giants to set up a clash with Falkirk Fury or Loughborough Student Riders in the BBL Trophy.
Andre Lockhart scored 20 points, while Brandon Peel netted a double-double (16 points, 14 rebounds) as the Lions outplayed and outclassed a Giants side yet to win at home this season.
The final score of 105-73 will be a welcome boost for coach Mariusz Karol’s side, having allowed leads to be easily overcome by Leicester Riders and Cheshire Phoenix.
The Lions dominance came from the free-throw line, as they hit all but two of 18 attempts to Manchester’s nine from 24, and long range, where they netted 15 from 33 to the Giants four from 18.
It all seemed different in the early minutes as Manchester came out looking sprightly and it was London who were struggling to warm up.
But it didn’t last long and as the Lions worked up the gears the hosts fell victim to easy steals and allowed London to walk to the basket.
The Lions led 27-21 at the first break and barely put a foot wrong in a second quarter that saw them go on a 17-point run and outscore Manchester 30-11, as captain Joe Ikhinmwin and Lockhart led the way.
As the half drew to a close Giants began to panic, with poor shot selection, and were punished at both ends of the court. Even when things seemed to briefly go their way, the Lions fought back, with a beautiful steal by Moritz Lanegger off a defensive rebound setting Justin Robinson up for three.
Lions led 57-32 at half time, but despite the hefty gap and perhaps with an eye on the previous weekend’s results, coach Karol called an early timeout in the third quarter as Manchester began to rally
Whatever was said, worked and from then on in it was plain sailing for Lions as a lay-up from Peel on the buzzer ended the third quarter 86-56.
The fourth quarter was a more scrappy affair, with both sides really just waiting for the inevitable, but Lamar Roberts produced a fine steal and basket to breathe life back into the game.
Lions host Plymouth Raiders at the Copper Box on Friday (7.30pm).