December 21 2013 Latest news:
By James Cunliffe at the Copper Box
Friday, October 11, 2013
BBL Championship: London Lions 62 Worcester Wolves 63
London Lions snatched defeat from the jaws of victory as Matthew Bryan-Amaning’s homecoming ended in a heartbreaking one-point overtime defeat to unbeaten Worcester Wolves - their second successive loss and first ever in a comeptitive match at the Copper Box.
It was a close encounter but the hosts had a dreadful first half with shots regularly rimming out in a low-scoring affair, while London missed the defensive influence of Paul Guede, whose temporary stay at the club has come to an end after returning to Slovakian side Prievidza.
In his place, Bryan-Amaning - who signed a short-term deal with the Lions on Tuesday and taken part in just two practice sessions - made his mark with seven booming blocks and 15 points to share the home side’s leading scorer honour with Rob Brown.
After his appearance off the bench midway through the opening period the centre immediately opened his account - a run of three straight baskets to introduce himself to the London crowd.
But Wolves, buoyed by an unblemished two-game start to the season, were alway in control during the first half as they navigated their way to the first intermission 20-16 in front.
Will Creekmore - who finished with a game high 17 points - spearheaded the Worcester attack and his three-ball extended the gap to 10 points. The dangerman later became the subject of Bryan-Amaning’s defensive attentions, though it wasn’t enough to wrestle control of the scoreboard in London’s favour.
The hosts just couldn’t get the rock to drop while Worcester were accurate enough to pull out timely threes in order to keep them at arm’s length, reaching the half time break 27-37 up on the Lions.
Wolves continued that feat until midway through the third stanza when a time-out saw Lions gather a measure of composure as Adrien Stuart found the net, Bryan-Amaning scored from his own defensive rebound and Rod Brown - the home team’s top scorer with 15 - drove successfully to the bucket to break the 10-point game down to four.
When Bryan-Amaning acrobatically denied Creekmore and Ian Salter a path to the basket there were signs of a momentum shift. From 41-45 down at the top of the fourth period Julius Joseph enjoyed a perfect visit to the free throw line but still stubborn Worcester tapped into more reserves to hold off the onslaught.
Sturt coughed up the ball cheaply twice in quick succession which added to the tension inside the Copper Box but a Joe Ikhinmwin jump shot made it 49-50 before Bryan-Amaning’s towering shot from outside the arch edged Lions ahead for the first time in the match.
The scorer was then instrumental as he burst to the bucket to feed in Joseph for another grateful two, forcing Worcester into a time-out, which did little to stop the rot as London looked to have timed their fightback to perfection.
Creekmore returned with only a 50 per cent success from one visit to the free throw line before Bryan-Amaning came up with another colossal block after a Brown lay-up had extended his team’s lead.
After another time-out with 54.6 on the clock, fouled Jamal Williams twice found the net to make it 56-54 but team-mate Kalil Irving’s wayward field goal attempt with 19.6 looked to have handed the game to London.
But the drama was just beginning as a further time-out broke the momentum and saw Stefan Djukic find the target on a breakaway to level the scores while a last-ditch attack saw Bryan-Amaning hit nothing but air to send the contest into five minutes of overtime.
With a repreive from Wolves’ first defeat of the campaign, the league’s top scorer Zaire Taylor - slowed by a hip injury - immediately made London pay when he sunk a huge three from the lane, topped off by an Irving basket from inside the key to put the hosts five behind. From there they were always chasing the game.
Two careless turnovers did not help the capital club and though Brown edged them to within one point the writing was on the wall when an offensive foul was called against Sturt with 2.5 seconds on the clock.
Alex Owumi missed both free throws to offer the slimmest glimmer of hope but it left no time for Lions to retaliate as Bryan-Amaning finished a hugely impressive personal debut (including 13 points) the way he ended regulation time - hitting nothing but oxygen as the buzzer sounded.