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London Lions tame Sheffield Sharks in thriller

PUBLISHED: 09:46 17 February 2017

London Lions got the better of Sheffield in a BBL thriller at the Copper Box Arena (pic Graham Hodges)

London Lions got the better of Sheffield in a BBL thriller at the Copper Box Arena (pic Graham Hodges)

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Zaire Taylor held his nerve at the free-throw line with three seconds remaining to give London Lions victory over DBL Sharks Sheffield at the Copper Box Arena.

Zaire Taylor held his nerve at the free throw line to help London Lions beat Sheffield (pic Graham Hodges)Zaire Taylor held his nerve at the free throw line to help London Lions beat Sheffield (pic Graham Hodges)

The win sees the Lions move into fourth spot, a much needed boost after losing in similar circumstances on Sunday when Andy Thompson’s free throw for Leicester forced overtime where the Lions lost.

Lions upset the form book as the Sharks had won seven of their last eight games going into the encounter.

And that seemed to show early on as Mike Tuck helped Sharks take the edge, before Rashad Hassan got going on the inside with two scores and Alex Owumi hit a triple on the first-quarter buzzer off a Taylor assist to cap a 9-0 run and put Lions 18-16 up.

The hosts extended their lead with a burst of 11 unanswered points in two second stanza minutes, and it was 40-32 at half time when Kai Williams hit a triple with their final offence.

Alex Owumi goes on the attack for London Lions against Sheffield (pic Graham Hodges)Alex Owumi goes on the attack for London Lions against Sheffield (pic Graham Hodges)

But Lions have not got a great record against the Sharks in BBL play, and with two previous losses this campaign, the run looked set to haunt them as the visitors, with the third best defence in the league, turned the screw after the break.

Malcolm Riley scored nine points in a 12-4 finish to the third and they extended that run to take the lead again on Rashawn Rembert’s triple in the first eight points of the fourth – taking the score to 63-58 as Lions netted just twice in nine minutes.

But a deep three-pointer from Owumi – his sixth of the game on his way to 22 points – swung the momentum back in the Lions’ favour, getting the hosts back to within one point.

And that margin proved crucial as Taylor scored the last five points of the game, a good steal and an and-one, then driving to the basket on the last offence to draw the foul before making both of his free-throws.

Lions travel to Worcester tonight with the next game at the Copper Box being on March 5 when Leeds Force are the visitors. Tickets are available on ticketmaster.co.uk.

Lions; Owumi 22, Hassan 16, Williams 11, Taylor 7, Lockhart 6, Niktash 6, Wells 4, Ikhinmwin 2, Moyo.


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