London Lions back to winning ways
PUBLISHED: 15:27 11 March 2017
London Lions 99 Plymouth Raiders 88
London Lions returned to winning ways in the BBL, handing the Plymouth Raiders yet another defeat that could have been far greater at the Copper Box Arena on Friday night.
While Navid Niktash led the scoring for the home side with 17 points, Alex Owumi netted a triple-double with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
Zaire Taylor, who has recently come under criticism for leaving others open while taking deep shots, put up 10 assists as he chalked up a double-double with 16 points.
And the Lions were again adept at drawing fouls, making 18 of their 23 trips to the free throw line as opposed to 10 from just 13 trips for Plymouth. It was a tale of two halves for the Lions, who built up a 63-42 lead by the end of the first half, which was enough to see them take the win despite a second half where they struggled and were outscored 46-36.
The first quarter saw the Lions start strongly, with Niktash and Kai Williams score two quick early buckets.
Threes were the order of the first quarter for the Lions as they knocked down six shots from behind the arc when the Raiders called timeout with 1.16 to go.
That timeout didn’t do much to dampen the Lions however, with Andre Lockhart hitting the home team’s seventh three-point shot and Williams almost making it eight.
Owumi didn’t waste any time getting the eighth within 12 seconds of the second quarter, giving the Lions a healthy 36-23 lead.
And he then made his presence felt at the other end of the court, forcing a steal before a lovely pass to Joe Ikhinmwin to put the lead up to 15.
As the quarter went on, the Lions frustrated Plymouth time and again, forcing turnovers and making quality shots.
By the time Taylor made a stunning behind the back pass, setting up a monster slam from Ikhinmwin that would be pride of place in any highlight reel, the game looked done and dusted, with a shell-shocked Plymouth facing a 52-35 deficit.
Things were about to get worse for the visitors as Lions dominated the final three minutes of the half, adding another 11 points to go into the break with a 21-point cushion.
Third quarter struggles have become a bit of a thing for the Lions this season, but it certainly didn’t look that way as they made up on defence when they lacked on offence and extended the lead to 26 by the mid-point of the half.
If the game was over then someone forgot to tell Plymouth as they stepped up a gear and showed real fight for probably the first time in the game.
It was far too little, too late however and the Lions whimpered towards a much-needed victory as they look to climb back up the table and secure a higher play-off spot.
The Lions are next in action on Friday March 24 with Cheshire as the opposition and tip off at 7.30pm.
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