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Rod Brown on song in milestone match as London Lions see off Newcastle Eagles

London Lions guard Rod Brown London Lions guard Rod Brown

Sunday, December 29, 2013
8:42 PM

BBL Championship: London Lions 96 Newcastle Eagles 82

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London Lions finished 2013 on a high and put a halt to three straight away defeat against the championship’s top three by closing the gap on fourth placed Newcastle Eagles with a resounding win at the Copper Box.

It was their fifth consecutive victory on home soil and they were in total control, save for a short second quarter burst from the visitors.

London talisman Rod Brown marked hiis 200th British Basketball League Championship game with a game-high 21 points and 11 assists, but perhaps more impressive was Adrien Sturt’s double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds as he and Kramer Knutson proved stubborn under their own bucket.

Tight early exchanges were broken when Rod Brown scored six points in a 12-2 run over the last four minutes of the first quarter to give the Lions an early double-digit lead at 24-14. Midway through the second stanza the Eagles responded in kind as Malik Cooke scored eight points to get them back to within one at 33-32, and they took the lead at 37-38 with just over three minutes to play in the half on consecutive scores from Scott Martin. Charles Smith snatched his 500th steal in the BBL Championship in that run.

But Sturt restored the lead for the Lions and they held that through to 51-47 at the break. It was a tough game on the inside, as only two three-pointers were scored in the first half. The Lions scored 34 points in the paint and 10 points off the eight turnovers that they forced; while the Eagles had 16 second chance points from the offensive boards.

It looked like a close second half was in store when Martin opened it with a three-pointer to get the Eagles to within one, but the Lions held their nerve to push the lead back out again: they posted an 8-0 run over a four minute spell, with Chez Marks scoring six of those for a 59-50 lead.

And once they got that advantage back into double-figures with a pair of three-pointers from Perry Lawson, a former Eagle, early in the fourth quarter it didn’t come down again. Sturt added another triple as the Lions found their range, before the lead peaked at 89-72 on Brown’s basket with three minutes to play and there was no way back for the visitors.

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