London Lions pipped by Belgian champions
- Credit: Archant
BC Oostende 98 London Lions 96
The London Lions saw a last-second shot from Demond Watt rim out as they fell to defeat against defending Belgian champions Oostende.
The friendly encounter turned serious as the Lions, playing with just one of their imports and missing Zach Gachette, took the lead early in the first quarter.
A stunned Oostende called a time-out and US forward Kyle Gibson netted four straight points before 6ft 10inch Bosnian international Khalid Boukichou scored inside giving the home team the first quarter lead at 25-18.
The second quarter saw the Lions begin to swing the ball and hit from deep, first through Kai Williams and off a tremendous offensive rebound from Brian Voelkel, Jamal Williams drained a triple.
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Watt was unstoppable inside and two jump hooks from Allie Fullah gave the Lions the second quarter 29-25 meaning they trailed by just twwo points at half time.
Nick Lewis then hit from three different spots on the floor on his way to 26 points, pushing out London’s advantage to 11 points, before a couple of turnovers and a monster dunk from Dominique Archie saw the home side close the deficit at the end of the third to 75-73.
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Nigel Lloyd’s men met their hosts blow for blow in every department and there was a tremendous battle under the hoop, but Watt won that with his 29 points and six rebounds.
Jean Salamu drained threes for the home side as they got back in front and moved five points up with only 16 seconds to go, but a Voelkel steal and assist to Watt saw an and-one play which he converted.
Voelkel stole the inbounds and Jamal Williams tied the game with 12 seconds to play at 96-96.
The home side didn’t call a time out and attacked the basket only for the whistle to blow and a foul sent guard Dusan Djordjevic to the line where he converted both shots.
Lions drew up the final play to try to get to overtime, but Watt rimmed out and it ended 98-96.
“It has been a good trip,” said coach Lloyd, “We’ve learnt a lot about ourselves and we know we enjoy learning, we are excited to start the season.”
Lions scorers; Watt 29, Lewis 26, Fullah 11, K Williams 11, J Williams 9, Ikhinmwin 5, Voelkel 3, Ebanks 2, Freckleton 0.
Lions will open their season on the road at Plymouth Raiders on Saturday before having a home opener on Friday September 25 against Leeds Force.
Season tickets are also still available and give fans the opportunity to choose their own seat for the season as well as exclusive access to many activities involving the team.
For further information on the London Lions, visit londonlionsbasketball.com. Tickets are available for all London Lions games at ticketmaster.co.uk.