BBL: Plymouth 82 London Lions 91
PUBLISHED: 21:57 11 January 2020 | UPDATED: 21:57 11 January 2020
London Lions extended their top-of-the-table lead in the BBL after overcoming Plymouth Raiders in Devon.
Love Island star and GB international Ovie Soko continued to prove himself a vital asset for the Lions as he picked up his second double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds.
And league MVP Justin Robinson picked up an additional 20 points as Brandon Peel tallied a game-high 12 rebounds as the defending champions saw off a spirited effort from the home side.
Lions took to the floor without Jorge Romero, who has now left the club due to having to complete a University Course in Spain, and their starters were Robinson, Jules Dang-Akodo, captain Joe Ikhinmwin, Peel and Soko.
The home side, without Josh Wilcher after a small operation and Rashad Hassan with a dislocated shoulder, started with Isa Brandon, Ron Mvouika, Tyrell Johnson, Leslie Smith and Kostas Jonuska.
Johnson was the star man in the first quarter as his athletic ability delivered 13 points as he tipped and dunked his way around.
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Lions were steady albeit a little leg heavy after the bus trip but good play from Ikhinmwin and Soko ensured they were in touch, down just 23-20 at the end of the first.
Johnson was quickly corralled in the second as he would only add four more points while sharp three-point shooting from Robinson, Ikhinmwin and Peel ensured the Lions offence hit the gears.
The visitors delivered 34 points in the quarter as Raiders were silenced and the half time score showed 54-43 in Lions favour.
Whilst never getting past third gear the Lions extended the lead to 16 points but poor free-throw shooting and 16 turnovers in the game meant the home side were always hanging around.
Three threes, two from Jonuska and one from Mvouika, closed the gap to seven points but a Lions timeout quelled things and the third quarter ended with them 73-64 up.
In the fourth, good defence from the Raiders, in particular Denzil Ubiaro, saw him break away for a pair of dunks, but Soko - despite sitting for a while on four fouls - drove hard inside and forced the home side's big men to foul him.
Cool play from Robinson saw the Lions home as they capped it with a Soko dunk to win by nine ahead of Sunday's home derby with London City Royals at the Copper Box Arena.
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