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London Lions beat Leicester in BBL Cup

PUBLISHED: 10:32 13 November 2016 | UPDATED: 10:32 13 November 2016

Alex Owumi attacks for London Lions at Leicester (pic Graham Hodges)

Alex Owumi attacks for London Lions at Leicester (pic Graham Hodges)

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Leicester 67 London Lions 76

Kai Williams lines up alongside Leicester's Drew Sullivan (left) in their BBL Cup tie (pic Graham Hodges)Kai Williams lines up alongside Leicester's Drew Sullivan (left) in their BBL Cup tie (pic Graham Hodges)

A double-double from Alex Owumi and 16 points each for Zaire Taylor and Kai Williams saw London Lions beat Leicester to book their spot in the BBL Cup semi-finals in style.

The Lions dominated a tense and hard-fought game with controlled and, at times, clinical defence, with confidence behind the arc and a strong presence at the free throw line.

Leicester - who were undefeated so far this term - were clearly frustrated by London’s ability to draw fouls, with coach Rob Paternostro and former Lion Drew Sullivan both earning technical fouls for heated exchanges with the officials.

But the Riders can have little complaint about the score, given that the Lions led throughout the game - at one stage by 19 points - and whenever Leicester looked to be drawing close, London were able to put their foot on the gas and deserved their victory.

Joe Ikhimwin attacks for London Lions at Leicester (pic Graham Hodges)Joe Ikhimwin attacks for London Lions at Leicester (pic Graham Hodges)

The seeds of the win were sown in an explosive first quarter start from the Lions that left Leicester reeling.

Brothers Kai and Jamal Williams netted three-point shots before the game was a minute old, with Kai sinking two more from downtown in the first quarter.

With six seconds left, a lay-up followed by a superb defensive rebound from Rashad Hassan gave Williams an opportunity to nail his fourth, but it bounced off the rim as Lions led 29-17 at the first break.

Kai Williams started the second prowling downtown and soon drew a foul sending him to the line for three shots.

Rashad Hassan attacks for London Lions at Leicester (pic Graham Hodges)Rashad Hassan attacks for London Lions at Leicester (pic Graham Hodges)

A lay-up from Hassan and a three-point shot from Joe Ikhinmwin took the lead to 19 with just under eight minutes to go in the half.

The Leicester crowd were becoming restless as the Lions defence showed their dominance, stealing the ball and continuing to draw fouls.

And as the half drew to a close, the Lions had a comfortable 48-35 lead, which could easily have been more.

Both sides came into the third quarter looking to push on, but the occasion seemed to get to them as makeable shots were missed and four minutes went by without a single bucket for either team.

London Lions Andre Lockhart issues instructions (pic Graham Hodges)London Lions Andre Lockhart issues instructions (pic Graham Hodges)

The home team had the better of the third, just, as 11 points for Leicester brought the lead down to nine going into the fourth, but the Lions were determined not to let the game slip away from them.

The final quarter was a story of hard-fought defence from the Lions and seemingly endless visits to the line, as Leicester threw everything they had to advance to the next round.

But it wasn’t to be and as Kai Williams rebounded the ball with the seconds counting down and Lions claimed their 76-67 victory.

Hassan, who had fouled out in the final quarter, yet again came agonisingly close to a double-double, with 14 points and nine rebounds, but it was the collective experience in the Lions team that led them home.

Lions will face Newcastle in the last four and return to BBL action today (Sunday) as Newcastle visit the Copper Box Arena, with the game tipping off at 4pm.

Lions scorers: Owumi 17, K Williams 16, Taylor 16, Hassan 14, Ikhinmwin 6, Lockhart 4, J Williams 3, Ashby 0, Moyo, Youngblood.


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