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BBL: Leicester Riders 83 London Lions 76

PUBLISHED: 15:40 03 February 2020 | UPDATED: 15:40 03 February 2020

Ovie Soko attacks for London Lions at Leicester (pic Graham Hodges)

Ovie Soko attacks for London Lions at Leicester (pic Graham Hodges)

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Defending BBL champions London Lions fell to an 83-76 loss at Leicester Riders in front of a sell-out Morningside Arena crowd.

The hosts flew out of the blocks to build a 10-2 lead after four minutes, after Ovie Soko opened the Lions scoring.

The leaders' offence was disjointed as they struggled to score, only nailing 10 points in the first quarter after 18 possessions, to trail 20-10.

The Lions would double their scoring in the second quarter but good outside shooting from Namon Wright and Corey Johnson allowed Riders to lead 44-30, with Soko hitting 16 for the Lions.

Lions opened the third quarter on a 12-5 run in the first five minutes, bringing them right back into the game, as Jules Dang-Akodo and Buay Tuach spearheaded the fight back.

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Justin Robinson hit a mid range off a Riders turnover, as Lions closed to three points going into the final period.

The game ebbed and flowed as the Lions press showed up a shaky back court for the Riders and it was this that kept Riders in the game, coupled with good shooting from Johnson.

Brandon Peel hit big threes and had the chance to cut the deficit to just two points when fouled but went one for three.

Riders rallied and with less than two minutes to go, Lions had narrowed the lead to just four points, but Johnson picked up seven additional points for his side, enabling the hosts to take the win.

Lions stay top of the BBL table at 7-2 as Riders move to 3-2 in seventh place.

Soko led all scorers with 21 points, while Dang-Akodo, Peel and Tuach all had 11 and Johnson led the Riders with 18.

Lions now travel to Newcastle on February 7, before returning home to face the Cheshire Phoenix on February 12.

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