BBL: Newcastle 108 London Lions 97
PUBLISHED: 16:33 09 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:33 09 February 2020
London Lions came away empty-handed after a high-scoring affair against the Eagles in the North East.
A starting five for Lions of Ali Tew, Justin Robinson, Brandon Peel, Jules Dang-Akodo and Buay Tuach raced out of the blocks to provide an early lead for the visitors, before Rahmon Fletcher and CJ Gettys combined as they would all night to wrestle it back to 21-14.
Lions responded well with excellent scores from Ovie Soko and Andre Lockhart and, despite both teams working hard, the offence had the upper hand as the quarter finished 31-24.
Lay-up's from Soko and Ogo Adegboye then led to Lockhart being fouled on an and-one to pull within two points at 34-32.
And after five minutes of the quarter, league MVP Robinson tied the game at 42-42.
Mike Morsell as having a quietly efficient game for the hosts, while Lions matched their hosts on the scoreboard, and a late flurry and score at the end of the half meant the home side led.
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Lions coach Vince Macaulay was furious as a shove to get open was not called, but despite remonstrating, the half-time score stood at 58-53 to the Eagles.
The third quarter was a sore one for the Lions as in the first four and a half minutes only Tew and Robinson would score a basket each for the defending champions as the home side hit a purple patch.
Eagles would only miss four shots in that quarter, going 11 from 15, while the Lions compounded that by committing four turnovers.
The lead ballooned to 16 points before Soko's dunk closed the quarter and the Lions trailed 84-71.
Robinson tried to drag his side back into the encounter as Buay Tuach was a menace on the boards and Soko hit a pair of triples as the Lions clawed back to within nine points.
But Fletcher orchestrated the closing stages for the Newcastle win and defeat saw the Lions dragged into the chasing pack with three losses.
Soko led all scorers with 33 points while Robinson chipped in with 19 and Tuach had his best game so far with a double-double of 12 points and 10 boards.