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London Lions suffer last-gasp BBL Trophy loss

PUBLISHED: 13:00 16 January 2017

Navid Niktash attacks for London Lions against Surrey Scorchers (pic Graham Hodges)

Navid Niktash attacks for London Lions against Surrey Scorchers (pic Graham Hodges)

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London Lions 87 Surrey Scorchers 88

London Lions suffered last-second heartbreak as the Surrey Scorchers dumped them out of the BBL Trophy at the Copper Box Arena on Saturday.

The game had started positively for the Lions, with Rashad Hassan scoring an easy two points in the first few seconds after the hosts had won the tip-off.

And despite Surrey responding, Kai Williams had his shooting boots on and it was the home team who went into the first break up 23-15.

Three-pointers proved to be decisive, though, after Lions had established a double-digit first-half lead at 40-28, when Joe Ikhinmwin was fouled scoring a triple, following a lovely assist from Kevin Moyo, whose insertion had galvanised the side.

However Tayo Ogedengbe – who led the Scorchers with 20 points and six rebounds – provided a clue as to what would come when his three-pointer narrowed the deficit just before the interval.

Scorchers dominated the third quarter, taking their first lead of the game on Quincy Taylor’s reverse lay-up in a run of 17 unanswered points, as Lions committed five turnovers in a row and could not get any shots to fall.

Meanwhile, Ogedengbe added another five points to put Surrey 56-51 up and that was followed by a three-point barrage to start the fourth quarter as

Scorchers took their largest lead when Lekan Popoola, hitting five in the game, Margai and Taylor all connected to make it 69-60.

Navid Niktash hit two three-pointers of his own on the way to a game-high 28 points to keep the hosts close, as the first 15 points of the quarter all came from beyond the arc.

Scorchers looked to have won the game when Popoola and Will Neighbour added two more treys in the space of 17 seconds, but there was more late excitement to come.

Niktash made another pair of quick triples and when Alex Owumi added another with 39 seconds to play, the Lions were back to within one at 86-85, before snatching the lead with a pair of Zaire Taylor free-throws with 20 seconds to play.

There then followed some truly bizarre basketball as the Scorchers turned the ball over, before getting back again thanks to a dubious offensive foul call on Taylor as he tried to get open to receive the ball.

With the Scorchers allowing the clock to run down, Quincy Taylor spun inside and found Will neighbour to tip in with just 0.8 seconds left on the clock to snatch victory.

The teams shared 27 three-pointers in the game, including 12 in the final quarter, with Scorchers shooting 52 per cent and Popoola hitting five of seven attempts, while Niktash landed six from 10.

The Lions now have to regroup ahead of two home games this weekend, with Glasgow Rocks visiting on Friday and Worcester Wolves in town on Sunday.

Tickets for both games are available on ticketmaster.co.uk

Lions: Niktash 28, Hassan 24, Williams 16, Owumi 8, Taylor 7, Ikhinmwin 4, Wells 0, Lockhart 0, Moyo 0.


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