BBL Trophy: London Lions 88 Cheshire Phoenix 77
PUBLISHED: 18:16 03 February 2019
Close to 3,000 fans saw the London Lions parade the BBL Cup following their recent success over Glasgow and then advance into the BBL Trophy Semi-Finals following their win against Cheshire Phoenix.
The Lions are now just one round away from making it into their second major BBL final this season but first will have to face Manchester Giants in a two-legged affair.
The hosts came flying out of the blocks with the first seven points of the contest forcing a Phoenix timeout.
The visitors slowly got into the game before injuries to both teams as Phoenix’s Daniel Norl left the game with an ankle problem not to return, while Justin Robinson suffered an eye injury which saw him leave the game to return later.
Jonathan James replaced him, promptly draining a triple and the Lions looked like having a solid lead at the end of the first quarter before Latinovic hit a half court buzzer beater to close the deficit to 23-21.
The game got tighter in the second quarter as the visitors would take 17 free throws in the half, but Robinson returned to keep the Lions’ scoring going as did Ladarius Tabb and it was 42-37 to the Lions at the interval.
The third quarter saw the Lions comfortably up, with Jordan Spencer draining a triple and assisting Tabb for a dunk as Latinovic was shut down to just 33 per cent shooting in the game and the gap grew to 64-41.
In the fourth quarter, Louis Sayers and Disraeli Lufadeju were the pick of the Phoenix players and for the Lions Kervin Bristol was his imperial self on his way to a 12-point, 11-rebound double double.
Cheshire came close to pulling it back near the conclusion of the game and were down by just eight points with two minutes remaining.
A 5-2 run from Cheshire saw them close that gap to just five with under one minute of play left, but four Robinson free-throws and a dunk from Brandon Peel saw the recent BBL Cup champions take one more step towards another BBL final.
Lions were fast on the break, converting 23 points, and also shot an impressive 95 per cent (19/20) from the free-throw line.
Spencer knocked down 21 points during the contest and also aided London’s win with an additional seven assists, while Tabb notched up 10 points and 10 boards.
Lions: Spencer 21, Robinson 17, Bristol 12, Peel 11, Tabb 10, Lockhart 5, Guede 5, James 3, Larkai 2, Okoro 2, Ikhinmwin 0, Roberts.