December 7 2013 Latest news:
By James Cunliffe
Friday, October 4, 2013
London Lions head coach Vince Macaulay labelled Joe Ikhinmwin and Julius Joseph the signings of the summer after they put in starring performances on their competitive debuts.
Walthamstow star Ikhinmwin fired a match-highest 22 points along with equally impressive playmaker Rod Brown as they kicked off the British Basketball League campaign with a tense 80-75 win over Manchester Giants at the Copper Box on Friday night.
It was the experience of fellow Londoner Jospeh, 37, signed from Surrey Heat this month, that saw London over the line with four decisive free-throws late in the final quarter to finish off the north-west side, who had clawed back a 20-point deficit in the second half.
“Joe Ikhinmwin is a find,” Macaulay said. “The two best signings this season, I think are Joe because of his youth, his energy and his athletic ability and also Julius because his expertise and experience - you can’t replace that.
“Obviously, Manchester threw the kitchen sink at us, which is exactly what I expected.
“They had an unbelievable third/fourth quarter period where they didn’t miss a shot. I think they made 14 in a row.
“We just had to weather that storm and once we wore them down you could see that, physically, we’d got them. Julius Joseph really made a difference at the end.”
Ikhinmwin, who signed from fellow high-flyers Newcastle Eagles in the off-season, added: “Julius Joseph is a veteran and he’s done it hundreds of times in his career and I know he’s going to keep doing it all the way through this season.
“I’ll look to learn things from him and we all should because he’s a great player.”
Guard Joseph shot 14 points against Plymouth on Sunday in a relatively more comfortable 79-70 win in Devon, while Ikhinmwin scored four.
But talking about his Lions hometown bow, the forward – a former Great Britain Under-20 international - said: “No matter where you play in the world, playing at home in front of friends, family, and people who live in the local area, there’s no better feeling than playing at home.
“It was amazing and I’m glad to be part of this organisation and we’ve got many more games to come.
“Being from London and getting to play for London is one of the biggest achievements we’ll have in our careers, besides representing our country.
“I’m proud of all the London and British guys that are playing for us and hopefully we can do something really solid this season.
“Titles are the aim for London Lions this season. This was just a starting point for where we need to get to.
“We need to improve every game and every practice.
“Having a close game so early in the season and seeing the poise that our team showed is really good so early in the season.
“It’s easy to crumble in situations like that so I’m glad we fought back. I’m glad that we showed the resilience to push through it.”