Leicester Riders 92 London Lions 65: Lions go out of BBL Trophy after defeat at Riders
PUBLISHED: 16:57 17 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:57 17 February 2018
BBL Trophy: Leicester Riders 92 London Lions 65
London Lions were eliminated from the BBL Trophy after their 92-65 defeat at Leicester Riders.
Lions entered the Leicester Arena trailing by nine points after their home loss Wednesday night in the first leg of their semi-final.
The Londoners lost 90-81 in the first leg at the Copper Box, despite Justin Robinson notching a game-high 25 points, with eight assists and three rebounds.
In the second leg, the hosts were in control of the tie early as they doubled their aggregate advantage to 18 points after ten minutes of basketball. Lions struggled to contain Riders’ threat from distance as the hosts netted four three-pointers in the opening term.
Flo Larkai demonstrated again what a great addition he is to the Lions as he brought veteran leadership and smart play on both sides of the ball including a fantastic one-handed slam early in the second quarter. Larkai would ultimately foul out early in the final quarter but contributed eight points and nine rebounds off the bench.
The visitors played with more aggression than on Wednesday. Riders were pushed over the foul limit in the second quarter and were forced to bench the dangerous Hampton and Douse, for fear of them fouling out.
Captain Joe Ikhinmwin drove and scored with a big euro step past the hobbled Trayvon Wright to force Riders to a timeout as the Lions closed the gap in the game down to seven before a Robinson three-pointer made it a four-point game.
This was as good as it would get for London, however, as Riders would come back to maintain their 18 point lead in the tie.
Lions were in foul trouble immediately as the second half commenced. The visitors conceded three fouls in the first 30 seconds of play and things would get worse as Robinson was forced off the floor through injury just minutes into the second half. Robinson would return and finish with a team-high 24 points and seven assists.
Despite limiting Riders in scoring during the third quarter, the visitors were unable to eat into the lead as they struggled to get on the scoreboard.
It took the Lions more than three minutes to net their first point and almost six to make their first field goal in the second half as Robinson and Ikhinmwin did their best to keep Lions in the contest.
Lions headed into the final period of play requiring a 22-point win in the quarter to see them through. An early three-pointer by Douse ended the tie but the Lions still pushed until the final second, Andre Lockhart’s corner three beating the buzzer.
The Londoners played hard throughout the contest despite being up against the odds, but once Riders were able to heat up the contest was over. For the second game running important Lions were unable to get into their offensive rhythm with Brandon Peel and Paul Guede struggling in particular.
Lions will host the Riders once again, at the Copper Box Arena, on March 9 at 7.30pm.