Hot Rod leads London Lions’ cruise past Glasgow Rocks
PUBLISHED: 00:11 04 January 2014 | UPDATED: 13:20 04 January 2014
BBL Championship: London Lions 81 Glasgow Rocks 65
London Lions started the New Year with a bang as they dominated Glasgow Rocks to claim a second victory against the Scottish side inside the Copper Box this season.
Not for the first time this term guard Rod Brown led the scoring with 19 but there were strong performances throughout as the Stratford-based side were in front for all but one play in the first quarter.
Brown, Kramer Knutson, Chez Marks, Mike Martin and Perry Lawson all made precious perfect visits to the free throw line while Glasgow faltered and their 15 points proved every bit as crucial as a stubborn defence.
It’s an aspect of their play which has ensured London have now won nine games out 10 at what is becoming a fortress at the Olympic Park headquarters.
The Lions had corrected a three-game losing streak on the road to end 2013 with a resounding win against Newcastle Eagles in their previous outing and they made it consecutive home triumphs to get their quest for the British Basketball League title back on the straight and narrow.
The captive capital audience saw a slow start with the scoreboard unblemished for three and a half minutes until new signing Marks broke the deadlock with the first of five early points.
Lions captain Martin – playing with a fractured rib – landed a jump shot for the first of an impressive 11-point haul as his side took a 7-0 lead.
A timeout sparked a mini recovery and a Fran Urli jump shot briefly turned the tables in Glasgow’s favour at 13-14. That lasted 20 seconds and Marks finished the quarter on nine points personal with the scores all square at 16-16.
Ten unanswered points, with Brown and Martin sharing eight, gave London the upper hand but player/coach Sterling Davis and Urli – arguably the Rocks’ most effective players – reduced the hosts to a five point advantage by half time.
While the Lions plundered a plethora of points from the free-throw line, Glasgow were wayward with Daniel Northern missing all of his four in quick-fire fashion in the third stanza.
It kept the scoring low in the first four minutes but a Joe Ikhinmwin slam dunk stretched his side’s lead to nine points, forcing a Rocks timeout.
They could only reduce the arrears to three points by the end of the period which saw Brown already rack up 17 points.
A Gareth Murray three-ball drew the Scots within sight at the start of the fourth – but the three points was as close as they came to reversing the trend.
Marks, Knutson, Adrien Sturt and Nick Freer – the latter with eight points in rapid succession – afforded the hosts a comfortable 69-59 cushion.
Rocks could not recover and conceded five fouls that the Lions punished to the maximum.
As Glasgow infringed and fluffed their lines late on, London produced the play of the match as Brown stole the ball and provided his sixth and final assist for Knutson to smash home a monstrous alley-oop.
It confirmed a victory which drew the Lions level on points with fourth-placed Newcastle - albeit after playing two games more - and sends the capital club into a two-week hiatus in which to prepare for the tough trip to face champions Leicester Riders.