London Lions clipped by Eagles
- Credit: Archant
London Lions 81 Newcastle Eagles 88
Two games against top BBL sides in less than 24 hours proved just too much for Nigel Lloyd’s London Lions as they suffered their first home defeat of the season against Newcastle last night.
Despite having got back from their BBL Cup victory in Leicester in the early hours of the morning, the Lions put up a spirited fight at Stratford’s Copper Box Arena, with Alex Owumi netting 27 points.
But their valiant effort proved in vain as the Eagles took off with the points.
The first quarter set the tone for much of the game, with Newcastle building a lead and the Lions doing their very best to meet it.
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By the end of the first quarter, the Lions had brought the score back to within one point, and they started the second quarter strongly, with Joe Ikhinmwin netting a three-point shot.
The Lions forced Newcastle into taking difficult shots and making sloppy turnovers and Kevin Moyo made an immediate impact – his first touch of the ball being a steal so quickly made that the other Lions players, let alone the Newcastle team, didn’t see happen.
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But the tiredness was clearly showing on the faces of the Lions and, despite two timeouts in the quarter, smooth basketball left the visitors with a commanding lead.
With seconds left in the half, Defoe shoved Zaire Taylor aside to give Newcastle a 15-point lead and the home side looked done for.
But the Lions came out fighting in the second half, using a spirit we’ve seen time and again from them this season.
Suddenly, Newcastle appeared to be in trouble, with shot after shot falling for the Lions as they battled to bring down the deficit.
At the end of the third quarter, the Eagles had an 11 point lead – one that would have been in single digits if Andre Lockhart’s superb half-court shot hadn’t been waved off by the officials, who judged it had left his hand after the buzzer had sounded.
Clearly feeling aggrieved, Lockhart started the fourth quarter with a similar downtown effort that did count, but by the middle of the quarter, the Lions again had to call timeout as the Eagles built the lead back up to 71-57.
With minutes to go, the Lions again stepped up the pace, forcing turnovers and putting on a good defensive display.
But with the clock against them, the Lions desperately fouled Newcastle, sending them to the line and powering back up the court with Taylor and Owumi desperately shooting from behind the arc.
The Lions now have almost two weeks off before the Manchester Giants are their next opponents at the Copper Box, tip off 7.30pm.